Charlotte’s leading Education, Youth, and Human Service Agencies will host Charlotte 2014 Education Summit on January 22

The Summit, featuring author and speaker Paul Tough, will examine challenges and solutions for raising high school graduation rates and preparing all young people for success.

Giving TuesdayCharlotte, NC
– Some of Charlotte’s leading education, youth and human service agencies are partnering together to host an education summit on January 22, 2014. The Charlotte 2014 Education Summit, titled “How Children Succeed,” will examine local data and identify what’s working and where challenges remain in Charlotte’s s efforts to prepare young people for success in and out of school. The event will also serve as a launching pad for the development of a multi-year community action plan that outlines how Charlotte and Mecklenburg County will accelerate efforts to raise the high school graduation rate to 90 percent by the class of 2020. The plan will include a series of metrics and a process for evaluating progress.

The Summit is free but registration is required (register at www.cischarlotte.org ). It is open to all educators, children/youth advocates, agency professionals, parents, or any community members who are passionate about young people, education, and helping local children succeed in school and in life. The event is from 1:00 – 5:00 pm and will be held at Friendship Missionary Baptist Church, 3400 Beatties Ford Road.

The Charlotte 2014 Education Summit is one of 100 GradNation Community Summits that are being held around the country over the next four years. The summits are co-sponsored by America’s Promise Alliance as part of the GradNation Campaign, a large and growing movement of dedicated individuals, organizations and communities working together to raise the national high school graduation rate to 90 percent by 2020, with no school graduating fewer than 80 percent of its students on time.

“The Charlotte 2014 Education Summit is a great opportunity for the entire community to come together to lend their support and ideas to create a plan that builds on and strengthens what the school district and others in our community are already doing,” said Molly Shaw, Executive Director of Communities In Schools of Charlotte-Mecklenburg (CIS-Charlotte), one of the lead partners of the Charlotte 2014 Education Summit. “By coming together to create a focused, coordinated effort that encompasses all sectors of the community, we’ll be able to reach more children and make the 90 percent goal a reality.”

One of the Summit’s highlights will be keynote speaker, Paul Tough. Tough is the author, most recently, of How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity, and the Hidden Power of Character, a New York Times best seller that has been translated into 22 languages. His first book, Whatever It Takes: Geoffrey Canada’s Quest to Change Harlem and America, was published in 2008. Tough is a former editor of and contributing writer to the New York Times Magazine, where he has written extensively about education, parenting, poverty, and politics, including cover stories on character education, the achievement gap, and the Obama administration’s poverty policies.

Additional summit programming will include:

• Cutting Edge Research from Harvard University on Poverty, Education, and Building Successful Children
• Take Action Now! – Learn How You Can Be An Advocate
• Through Their Eyes – Insights from Our Children
• “Getting Ahead” Classes for Parents – Move out of Poverty into Stability

The 2013 Building a Grad Nation report found that for the first time, the nation is on track to meet the goal of 90 percent national graduation rate by the class of 2020. The report found the national high school graduation rate increased 6.5 percentage points since 2001 with an average growth of 1.25 percentage points each year from 2006-2010 to its current rate of 78.2 percent. Nationwide, more than one in five students fails to graduate within four years. Locally, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools announced in August 2013 that the graduation rate for the CMS district had increased to 81%, up from 76.4% the previous year.

“The progress we are seeing toward the national goal of raising graduation rates is based on communities coming together to support and insist on better outcomes for young people,” said John Gomperts, president and CEO, America’s Promise Alliance. “Summits like the event in Charlotte are rallying points for communities. America’s Promise is delighted to support this effort and work with the leaders in Charlotte and communities across the country to help advance this campaign.”

The premier sponsor of the national GradNation Community Summits campaign is AT&T, whose support is part of AT&T Aspire, the company’s $350 million commitment to graduate more students from high school ready for college and career. Other summit sponsors include the Ford Foundation, DeVry Foundation, The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, Graduation Alliance, Southwest Airlines, and the Apollo Group.

The Charlotte 2014 Education Summit is being hosted by Communities In Schools in partnership with the following organizations: Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, Charlotte Housing Authority, Friendship Missionary Baptist Church, Greater Charlotte Alliance of Black School Educators and the National Alliance of Black School Educators, Mecklenburg County Department of Social Services, MeckEd, Mental Health Association of Central Carolinas – Parent VOICE, UNC-Charlotte’s Urban Education Collaborative, and the YMCA of Greater Charlotte. Visit www.cischarlotte.org for more information and to register.


America’s Promise Alliance is the nation’s largest partnership dedicated to improving the lives of children and youth. We bring together more than 400 national organizations representing nonprofit groups, businesses, communities, educators and policymakers. Through our GradNation campaign, we mobilize Americans to end the high school dropout crisis and prepare young people for college and the 21st century workforce. Building on the legacy of our founding chairman General Colin Powell, America’s Promise believes the success of young people is grounded in the Five Promises—Caring Adults, Safe Places, A Healthy Start, Effective Education, and Opportunities to Help Others. For more information, visit www.AmericasPromise.org).

Communities In Schools of Charlotte-Mecklenburg is part of the national Communities In Schools (CIS) network, one of the nation’s leading dropout prevention organizations. The mission of Communities In Schools is to surround students with a community of support, empowering them to stay in school and achieve in life. Through school-based site coordinators in 43 Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, CIS-Charlotte provides case management services and connects 6,000+ students and their families to critical community resources, tailored to individual needs. Last year, CIS-Charlotte supported an additional 30,000 students through school-based programming and coordination of resources. CIS forms partnerships with human service agencies, businesses, civic groups, faith communities, and individual volunteers to connect students and families to the relationships and resources they need to be successful in school. Visit our website at www.cischarlotte.org.

Media Contact:
May Johnston