CHARLOTTE, N.C -- It's not every day that the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Superintendent and school board president visit students who have dropped out, but Dr. Heath Morrison wants to empathize the importance of increasing the districts graduation rate.
"It’s really outreach, it’s just making sure that we're a school district that values every child," said Morrison as he stood outside the home of a student who after speaking with him, decided to return to school. "If you're going to have an idea that every child matters, that every child counts…That’s what your school district is all about then you've got to reach out."
Dr. Morrison and Erica Ellis-Stewart went to the homes of students who have not attended classes this year and will continue to do so over the next weeks. They are speaking to those students and their care-givers about why the students dropped out and what can they do to get the students to come back. Currently, the CMS graduation rate stands at 76.1 percent. Those numbers have been going up, but Dr. Morrison said the district and community can do better.
"I'm very proud of that, but that still means that one out of every four students that start with us in 9th grade won't finish unless we continue to innovate, do different things for the sake of being better." said Morrison.
For years, CMS has identified and reached out to students who have dropped out. CMS regularly sends social workers to make contact with the students in hopes of letting them know that there are ways they can finish their education.
“We need to make those relationships with students, to make sure that they know all of the options that are available to them,” said Kondra Rattley, Garinger High School Principal.
Morrison agrees, and said the visits are not for publicity but to show students how important it is for them to return to school; not for the school district but for their future.
"This isn't a win-loss; it’s a win-win when every student is graduating." Morrison said.