NEVADA, MO.---- "It was a struggle for me," states Mykal Fritts.
School wasn't Mykal Fritts only concern last year. He was also helping support his family.
"I'd come to school for about an hour, leave, go to work, After I'd got off work I'd do my homework. Go back to school the next day and do it all over again," states Fritts.
It wasn't easy to juggle school and a job.
"Some people got the talent for it and others don't," states Fritts.
School took a backseat and he left Nevada High School the middle of last year. He's not alone.
"The dropout rate has increased for a few years. I think the economic situation has a lot to do with it. Students need to work," states Patty Murray, Counselor.
School counselor, Patty Murray is working hard to keep students from leaving the district.
"I've gone to students' houses and knocked on doors to try to get them to school and dealt with employers," states Murray.
Now, Murray and other school leaders are turning outside the classroom to try and change the trend.
"The school district is only as good as the community and the community is only as good as the school district. It's a very cyclical relationship," states Dr. David Stephens, Superintendent.
Dr. David Stephens focused on what's causing students to drop out at today's meeting.
"They're dropping out for things like homelessness, family issues, teen pregnancy, all kinds of societal and community issues," states Dr. Stephens.
He says district leaders are limited in addressing these issues but community resources can help.
"Let's brainstorm ways we as a community and school district that can address those issues," states Dr. Stephens.
School leaders have programs like this alternative school to help get students back on track. It's brought the possibility of high school graduation back into Fritts life, as he attempts to give junior year a second try.
"When I get my high school diploma what I'm looking forward to doing is going off to college," states Fritts.
The dropout rate has been increasing since 2009 and there was a spike in dropouts for 2011, but school leaders say dropouts have gone down this year compared to last. Their goal is to get everyone in the district to graduate.