TO: LEA Superintendents
  Local Board of Education Chairs

FROM: June St. Clair Atkinson

  Edwin Dunlap, Jr., Ph.D.
  North Carolina School Boards Association


We need your help. Research tells us that students who drop out of school make a "million-dollar mistake" - the difference in lifetime earnings between the average high school dropout and a bachelor’s degree recipient.

That is why educators, community leaders, faith-based representatives, parents and students must work together to raise the awareness of why it is important for North Carolina's economic development that all students graduate. In addition, we ask that you set benchmarks toward reaching a 100 percent graduation rate in your school district.

We know that attaining this goal will require multiple strategies. We reach out to you today regarding a powerful drop out prevention tool called InsideOut – a documentary created to help young people and their parents understand the importance of staying in school and the probable consequences if they don't. Superintendents have been asked to show students, parents, and community leaders the documentary and engage in a discussion about this important issue. This documentary features prison inmates promoting education as the way for youth to avoid a life behind bars. The documentary presents a stark look at prison life -- with inmates telling their personal stories of regret for not pursuing an education and graduating. It is the creation of Dr. Shelley Stewart of the Mattie C. Stewart Foundation.

If you haven't had a chance to see InsideOut yet, I encourage you to visit the Mattie C. Stewart website and watch the three-minute trailer ( Copies of the DVD may be obtained through this site.

We very much value your partnership in this effort. Increasing the graduation rate in our schools will require the support of all us in our individual communities. Together, we can make a difference!

*Quote from Marguerite Kondracke, President and CEO of America's Promise Alliance

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