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Groups That Help At-Risk Kids Coordinate Efforts

More than a dozen organizations that serve at-risk children in the Charlotte area are trying to better coordinate their efforts. They've come up with the common goal of improving the area's graduation rate. It's 74 percent within CMS. The groups include those that work with high school students as well as those that help pre-schoolers. The United Way of the Central Carolinas is facilitating the process. The agency's director, Jane McIntyre, says kids who fall behind in school at a young age have much higher odds of dropping out. "A child doesn't decide mid-way through 11th grade to drop out of school. They're dropping out all along the way. So it's important that we catch it early," says McIntyre. A big part of the effort is about measuring a group's success. McIntyre says it's often expensive for non-profits to collect data that would give them an idea of what impact they're making. United Way is using most of a $200,000 grant to collect information on test scores, attendance and suspensions of children who go through the programs. She says the idea is to see what's working and to tweak things that aren't.