IEI Education: High School Graduation Rates

IEI Education: high school GRADUATION RATES

For the first time ever, North Carolina’s four-year cohort graduation rate has exceeded 80 percent. Since 2006, the first year the state issued this kind of information, the percentage of students graduating high school in four years or less has risen from 68.3 percent to 80.2 percent.

While we still have a long way to go to reach North Carolina State Superintendent June Atkinson’s goal of graduating every student “college and career-ready,” students across the state are working hard to help their peers succeed in school.

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In 2012, IEI used its Emerging Issues Prize for Innovation to challenge college and high school students to work collaboratively and come up with an innovative idea to increase North Carolina’s high school graduation rates. With nearly 70 applications, students across the state were ready to reduce dropout rates.  Five teams in each age category were selected as finalists. More than 12,000 votes were cast, and two teams were awarded the $5,000 grand prize at the Emerging Issues Forum that February.

“Studio Lounge” from Richmond Senior High School, a homeroom study lounge for students, and “LinkedUp” from UNC-Greensboro, a mentoring program, were selected as the winners. Watch the video below to learn more about each of these projects and see their progress.

The winners, however, were not the only students who worked to increase graduation rates. Being named a finalist in 2012 was all the motivation and encouragement the A.I.M (Achieve, Inspire, Motivate) team needed to put their idea into action.

These Greene Central High School (GCHS) students were driven to implement their idea of a student-led afterschool mentoring program.  With a grant from the North Carolina Science, Mathematics and Technology Education Center, A.I.M’s project has developed into a STEM awareness initiative. They created a school-based STEM club, which inspired the school’s first Robotics team.

Our economy depends on our future workers, and their education and skill sets are a crucial part of our future success. When students understand the importance of graduating and work to help their peers succeed, our state takes another step in the right direction.





IEI offers exciting prize competitions for teams of high school and college students, respectively.  Winning teams are typically announced at our annual Emerging Issues Forum each February.

IEI high school prize for innovation

IEI sponsors this exciting competition to inspire teams of high school students to devise innovative solutions to key challenges in North Carolina’s communities.  Read more about the 2014 and 2015 high school grand prize winners.

state employees credit union emerging issues Prizes for Innovation

IEI thanks the State Employees Credit Union Foundation for its generous support of the 2014 and 2015 “State Employees Credit Union Emerging Issues Prizes for Innovation” competitions.


Interested in helping support programs like these? Donate today and help IEI continue its work in the natural and built environments. 
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