etimes change at a school is not evident in one year. Sometimes it takes several years.
   That's been the case at Crook County High School, which now has bragging rights about cutting its dropout rate in half.
   According to the Oregon Department of Education, 93 high school students left school in the 2003-2004 school year. School officials cut that down to 54 in the 2004-2005 year. Now the rate is down to 25 students in the 2005-2006 school year, or 2.5 percent.
   This is excellent news for the school, and we believe there are several reasons for the change.
   A change in principals several years ago and a desire to lift up all students, not just some, was key. Principal Jim Golden's belief that when students are in school, they should think of it as serious business, as if they are out in the workforce, has been paramount in the reduction of the dropout rate.
    Another is a newer class being offered this year called Student Connections. The aim of this class is to have every high school student mentored by a staff member all four years of high school. Additionally, school officials have repeatedly emphasized that in today's economy and environment, a post-secondary experience of some sort is necessary. That may mean attending a technical college, a community college, joining the military, or a university. We believe that creating an atmosphere in which students consider and go on to a post-secondary environment, coupled with reducing the dropout rate, go hand in hand.
   "We really want to make it with every single kid," Golden said, adding that his goal is to reduce the dropout rate to less than 2 percent.
   We believe that Crook County High School is on the right track, making sure every student feels welcomed and academically challenged at school.
   If the school and community can continue to build upon this success Crook County as a whole will benefit as much as the students will.
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