DOTHAN, Ala. (WDHN) — Over the past couple years, 750 students out of the approximately 8,000 enrolled have left Dothan City Schools. Of those, 83 students left within with the last school year.
The school district is trying to address the underlying causes.
The superintendent, Dr. Dennis Coe says that about a third of the students moved to other areas in the state, or moved out of the state, and/or transferred to private schools or other districts in Houston County.
Over the past 2 years, Dothan has seen the largest percentage point drop of all of of the larger school districts in the state.
“If we can reestablish the trust,” Dr. Coe said. “Everything else will eventually take care of itself.”
New leadership took over at Dothan City Schools at the beginning of this school year and they are beginning to make changes.
DCS is now offering advanced placement classes for younger students, starting in the 6th grade.
They’re also offering art, music, and foreign language classes at the grade school level and they’ve moved the 9th grade students from Dothan Preparatory Academy to a school of their own.
“We do have a lot of great things going on in our school system and we just need to focus on the positive,” Dr. Coe said.
Dr. Coe says he knows the district needs to reestablish trust between the school system and the parents.
“It’s our hopes and desires that by reestablishing trust in the public and listening to the public. That will help us curve the loss of students we have experienced in years past and use that to build a positive momentum for the district moving forward,” Dr. Coe said.
Dr. Coe tells WDHN news that once the pandemic is over they hope to attract a lot more students back in to the classrooms.