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NEWS RELEASES 2008-09 :: JULY 8, 2008


State Superintendent June Atkinson is hosting a "Graduation Awareness Roundtable Meeting" on Wednesday, July 9, to build a statewide awareness program to encourage students to stay in school and graduate from high school.

The Roundtable meeting will be held in Room 150, Education Building, 301 N. Wilmington St., Raleigh, from 12:15 – 2:45 p.m. Presenters will include State Sen. Vernon Malone and Rep. Earline Parmon, co-chairs of the Joint Legislative Commission on Dropout Prevention and High School Graduation (invited); Dr. Don Martin, superintendent, Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools; and Dr. Al Lerch, superintendent, New Hanover County Schools. Representatives from state education associations, advocacy groups and others have been invited.

"In North Carolina, we know that only 70 percent of high school students graduate from high school with their class. We also know that the 21 st century economy will be relentlessly difficult for adults who have not graduated from high school and developed strong skills for the workplace and for ongoing education," said State Superintendent June Atkinson. "It will take everyone working together to keep more students in school and on track for high school graduation."

The goal of the Roundtable meeting is to preview "InsideOut," a 52-minute documentary that features prison inmates promoting education as the only way for youth to avoid a life behind bars. It is the creation of Shelley Stewart, chairman and CEO of Birmingham-based marketing firm O2 Ideas, and his business partner John Zimmerman, the company's President and Chief Creative Officer. It is a production of the Mattie C. Stewart Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting literacy and the curtailment of the dropout rate nationwide. The Inside Out documentary presents a stark look at prison life -- with inmates telling their personal stories of regret for not pursuing an education and graduating. The Roundtable group also is expected to identify strategies for a statewide graduation campaign and to build support for a statewide graduation awareness campaign. More information about the InsideOut dvd is available at

For more information about the July 9 Roundtable, please contact NCDPI's Communications division at 919.807.3450.

About the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction:
The North Carolina Department of Public Instruction provides leadership to 115 local public school districts and 126 charter schools serving over 1.5 million students in kindergarten through high school graduation. The agency is responsible for all aspects of the state's public school system and works under the direction of the North Carolina State Board of Education.

For more information:
NCDPI Communication and Information Division, 919.807.3450.