South Carolina Dropout Prevention Summit

Summit Location: 
Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center
Columbia, South Carolina


Co-convened by Jim Rex, State Superintendent of Education, Martha Scott Smith, AT&T of SC and Bruce White, State Farm Insurance the summit was attended by 900 leaders from across the state. A separate youth track was in place to train young people in leadership and gain their input on solutions to the dropout issue.

  • The summit launched a new state initiative titled Graduation Matters. Through this initiative and follow-up regional events a state-wide action plan will be enhanced, and policy recommendations for new resources and the reallocation of present funding to more accurately reflect research-based practices will be put forth. A subcommittee will be created to develop an action plan to strengthen low-performing schools and provide more wraparound support to South Carolina young people who need it.

Summit Planning Team:

  1. Governor’s Office
  2. State Agencies: South Carolina Department of Education, South Carolina State Board of Education, South Carolina Department of Juvenile Justice,  South Carolina Commission on Minority Affairs, South Carolina Vocational Rehabilitation, South Carolina Department of Corrections
  3. Young People: South Carolina Center for Gap Scholars, Safe Schools Youth Advisory Board, School Representatives
  4. Corporate Representatives: South Carolina State Farm Insurance, South Carolina Chamber of Commerce,      Nelson Mullins, LLP—Attorneys at Law, Central Carolina Community Foundation, The State Newspaper,  Local Fox TV Affiliate, Palmetto Health, New Carolina
  5. Education: South Carolina Association of School Administrators, South Carolina Association of Public Charter Schools, South Carolina School Counselor Association,      South Carolina Alliance of Black School Educators, The South Carolina Education Association, The Palmetto State Teachers Association,      South Carolina Education Oversight Committee, Education and Economic Development Coordinating Council, SERVE
  6. Nonprofit Partners: YMCA,  Communities in Schools of South Carolina, Sisters of Charity Foundation of South Carolina, National Dropout Prevention Center/Network, South Carolina After-School Alliance, South Carolina First Steps,      South Carolina Parent Teacher Association, United Way of South Carolina
  7. Other Elected Officials: Congressman Jim Clyburn, Columbia Mayor Bob Coble, Representative Bob Walker, Senator John Courson
  8. Other Impartial Sectors: Midlands Baptist Association, University of South Carolina, Clemson University, Medical University of South Carolina, Commission on Higher Education, South Carolina Technical College Association, South Carolina State University

South Carolina's Dropout Prevention Action Plan

Progress Since the Summit

  • In May 2009, the state held a business/education forum to follow up on the summit, at the urging of State Farm and AT&T. About 200 people participated in this 3-4 hour videoconference session. The conference was one day in length, highlighting the options under public school choice, while also sharing information on successful data collection models, statewide policy, business/community/education partnerships and dropout prevention programs. Post-conference efforts will focus on follow-up on the efforts of districts creating their own choice plans.
  • As part of Graduation Matters, the state’s dropout prevention initiative, work is now underway on a state-wide awareness campaign to help educate parent, families and educators about all of the options and services available. They are working on a guide of all available educational options and supports, and plan to make it available through businesses, realtors, churches, etc. They are also developing targeted messages for various sectors about their roles and responsibilities.