As a business leader, I am sure you believe, as I do, that a quality education for all students has never been more important than it is in today’s globally competitive economy. Over the last several decades North Carolina has made great strides in improving the quality of our public schools, but there is still much to be done. While our schools serve many students well, far too many students are still dropping out or leaving school without the knowledge and skills they need to be productive citizens in the 21st century. While graduation rates have been rising, far too many students require remediation by colleges, universities and community colleges. As economic conditions impact the budget of local schools systems, it is imperative that communities mobilize to find innovative ways to support our students and schools.
It is for this reason, I am writing to personally urge you to attend and participate in the inaugural North Carolina Education Summit hosted by the Howard N Lee Institute for Equity and Opportunity. The summit is scheduled for September 24- 26, 2012 at the Koury Convention Center in Greensboro. The theme of the summit is: A Call to Action: Raising Expectations and Closing Gaps for ALL Students. This event will provide the first ever state-wide opportunity to bring together a diverse group of community stakeholders, including education leaders, teachers, elected officials, business leaders, faith leaders, non-profit organization leaders, students, and parents to assemble and collaborate on ways to enhance and strengthen the relationship between communities and schools to improve student proficiency and school performance. Following this three day summit, participants will be encouraged to return to their respective communities to organize and work to build a common vision, set priorities; outline mutually agreed on goals and implement a blueprint for action. This summit will be a wonderful opportunity for you and other leaders of your community to meet and interact with individuals from across the state to identify ways to better meet the needs of all students. It will, also, help you make contact and forge relationships with peers in parallel roles across North Carolina.
This summit will not be just another mundane education conference or an echo chamber for any particular point of view. We expect and will encourage participants to transcend philosophical differences and work together to search for opportunities to disrupt the status quo and drive positive change to enhance the community’s engagement with local schools. There will be an impressive roster of keynote speakers, such as Phil Kirk-former Chair of NC State Board of Education, Sam Houston-NC Center for Science and Math, Cynthia Marshall-President AT&T, James Johnson-Kenan-Flagler School of Business, Bob Wise-former Governor of West Virginia and many others. There will, also, be a wide variety of content packed concurrent sessions, focusing on such topics as pathways to the workforce, community based instructional centers, the challenge to teach reading, teaching parents to advocate for their children, the value of charter schools and teaching students to be good citizens. I hope you will join me at the Summit. It is crucial that we have your business voice in the tables and engaged in discussions.
You can register on-line through the link on our website: www.howardleeinstitute.org.
Together, we can transform the lives of students through engaging communities. Please let me know by August 6th if we can count on you to participate. My email address is: firstname.lastname@example.org
With kindest regards, I am
Howard N Lee