Communities In Schools-Charlotte held its first "Graduation Summit" event on October 26, 2011. The program was designed to inform and engage educators, volunteers, and the community at large about the importance of ensuring that all students in Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools graduate from high school. The 300-seat Wells Fargo Auditorium at the Knight Theater was near capacity, with CMS teachers and principals, CIS staff and board members, local government officials, community partners, corporate groups, and individuals interested in learning how they could each have a positive impact on the high school graduation rate.
Dan Cardinali, president of the national Communities In Schools organization, opened the Summit with information on how graduation rates affect both the national and local economy. In reference to the current state of the economy, Cardinali stated that improving graduation rates would be "one of the best economic stimulus packages" a community could have.
Following Cardinali, Dr. Jay Smink, professor emeritus from Clemson University and the retired executive director of the National Dropout Prevention Center/Network, presented his extensive research and current data about dropouts and graduation rates, as well successful strategies that can be implemented. Click here to download Dr. Smink's complete presentation.
Rounding out the event was a discussion panel led by Ann Clark, chief academic officer with CMS, and local panelists Megan Lisa, a CMS teacher at Phillip O. Berry Academy of Technology; Federico Rios, a CIS Site Coordinator at Hidden Valley Elementary; and Denise Watts, the executive director of Project L.I.F.T., a philanthropic initiative providing educational support to West Charlotte corridor schools. Summit attendees had the opportunity to ask questions and share ideas with both the national speakers and local panelists.
Communities In Schools appreciates the support of Piedmont Natural Gas, Wells Fargo, and WTVI, which made the event possible.
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