LITTLE ROCK (KATV) — Little Rock high school seniors will be receiving their high school diploma at the end of the month, but officials with the Little Rock School District said some students are on the brink of dropping out and they're doing whatever they can to help them graduate.
Lequieta Grayson is the coordinator of counseling for the district. She works with nearly 60 counselors on strategies to help seniors who are struggling in the classroom.
"Oh this is a critical point," Grayson said. "This is a almost everyday, contacting as many seniors as we can.
Grayson said the reality is that not all seniors will graduate on time this school year. But they are doing everything the district can to get those students to walk across the stage.
"Our number one goal is to graduate 100 percent of our students,” Grayson said. “Though life may happen, and we may not be able to graduate that 100 percent, we at least have a plan for 100 percent of the students to receive their high school diploma."
Grayson said nearly 1,200 seniors are enrolled this school year and they're hoping to graduate all of them. She said this is the first full school year that students endured the COVID-19 pandemic. Grayson said some senior students have had to make tough decisions throughout the school year.
"Some of our students have had to work to help their families ... parents [were] deciding on whether we [were] sending our students to a building or we were going to do virtual," she said. "On any given day, different things can happen when you are at home."
According to Grayson, the district introduced a digital program called Graduation Alliance that allows students such as Destiny Coleman the option to come back and take the courses they need to receive their diploma.
Officials said that in the 2019-2020 school year, about 1 percent of high school students in the district dropped out. That's lower than the previous year, when nearly 6 percent dropped out.
"Whether they do it the year they're supposed to graduate or very few of them have to do it next year, the whole point is just to get across the line,” Grayson said.
Grayson said it's everyone's job to get all seniors to graduate, not just the responsibility of the students.
According to the Arkansas Department of Education, nearly 89 percent of high school seniors in the state graduated in 2020.