It's the first time the dropout rate has declined since 2005.
In the Triangle area, here's a breakdown for a few counties:
- Wake: up 2.55% (1647 kids to 1689 kids); current rate is down however from 4.21% to 4.17%
- Durham: down 13.58% (508 kids to 439 kids) current rate is 4.19 %
- Cumberland: up .82% (610 to 615 kids); current rate is slightly up 3.56% to 3.61%
- Johnson: down 5.73% (454 kids to 428 kids); rate down to 4.92%
Durham County leaders were celebrating the district's near 14 percent plunge Thursday.
"We now have the data to prove that our strategies are working, but we will not stop. We will continue to refine and build on these strategies until all of our students are staying in school and graduating," said Superintendent Carl E. Harris.
Education officials say the statewide decline comes from high school reform initiatives and local intervention efforts.
Some local superintendents credit former Gov. Mike Easley's Learn and Earn and early college programs with helping keep students in school.
There's also a law that revokes a driver's license of a student who leaves school before age 18.
"This is good news for North Carolina. Local schools are using all of the tools available to help students stay in school," Superintendent of Public Instruction June Atkinson said in a news release.