Going door to door to talk to drop outs - WBTV 3 News, Weather, Sports, and Traffic for Charlotte, NC

Going door to door to talk to drop outs

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CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Every 26 seconds a student drops out of school in America.

In Charlotte - Mecklenburg school (CMS) system, one out of four students don't graduate.

New CMS superintendent Dr. Heath Morrison wants to change that.

"This isn't a win-lose," Morrison said. "It's a win-win when every student is graduating."

Morrison is trying a new approach this year.

The new superintendent and his team are going door to door to talk to drop outs.

They will try to convince them to go back to school.

On Thursday morning, Morrison and school board chairperson, Ericka Ellis-Stewart, visited drop out Karan Gonzalez.

Gonzalez attended Garinger High school. She's been absent for a year. She was forced to leave school to be the breadwinner for her family.

Her family fell on hard times and Gonzalez quickly learned about life.

"I saw how the economy was," Gonzalez said. "I saw how people struggled to pay their bills, get food on the table."

She worked many jobs when she was supposed to be in school.

"Bakery, cleaning, I was at McDonalds for awhile." the student said.

The school's principal started reaching out to Gonzalez about returning to school awhile back. And then the superintendent showed up at her doorstep.

Gonzalez said all those conversations convinced her to go back to school.

She returned Thursday.

The intervention helped her realize she had to get a high school diploma.

"Just finish it," Gonzalez said. "Because if you don't get your diploma, many doors, like he (Morrison) had said, is going to get closed on you."

Morrison knows the district can't save every drop out but he says he has to try.

CMS says Gonzalez has 24 credits to earn before she can graduate. The school district is now coming up with options so students can work to support their family and go to class at the same time.

"We might have to do things at a different hour," Morrison said. "Or maybe on weekends or doing online."

The former drop out plans to graduate next year and now has this advice for other dropouts. Go back to school.

"Turn right back around," Gonzalez said. "And go through those doors and try every single day to do your best."

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