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For Immediate Release: Sept. 14, 2009
Contact: Mary Stadick Smith - (605) 773-7228

Indian Education Summit to focus on dropout prevention

Preventing high school dropouts is the exclusive focus of the annual Indian Education and Dropout Prevention Summit slated for Sept. 27-29 at the Ramkota in Rapid City.

The South Dakota Department of Education has joined Volunteers of America-Dakotas, America’s Promise Alliance, Technology and Innovations in Education, AmeriCorps VISTA and State Farm Insurance to present the summit.

“In South Dakota, we have far too many American Indian students who don’t graduate from high school,” said Secretary of Education Tom Oster*. “We need to keep the spotlight on this issue, and we need to implement strategies to keep students engaged in learning.”

Sessions at the 2009 Indian Education and Dropout Prevention Summit will address issues critical to dropout prevention, including parental involvement, academic achievement, service learning, college and workforce preparedness, financial literacy, and youth resiliency. Local, regional and national experts in the areas of Indian education and dropout prevention will speak at the event. Gov. Mike Rounds also is scheduled to address the group.

The summit is part of America’s Promise Alliance’s Dropout Prevention Campaign, a national effort to reduce high school dropout rates and prepare children for college, work and life. The lead sponsor for the national campaign is the State Farm Insurance Company.

Founded by Gen. Colin Powell and chaired by Alma Powell, America’s Promise Alliance is the nation’s largest multi-sector coalition for the well-being of U.S. children and youth.

“The key to increasing graduation rates at the city, state and national level is to stop working in isolation and to start working together,” said Marguerite Kondracke*, president and CEO, America’s Promise Alliance. “That’s why we are convening these summits. We need curriculum reform, after-school programs, efforts to improve health care and nutrition programs, increased resources and greater accountability.”

“Most of all, we need to recognize that no one local or national entity can solve this crisis alone, but working together, we can make enormous strides to ensure our children succeed,” she said.

Educators, policy makers and the public are invited to attend. Cost is $100 per person.


*Pronunciation: (OH-ster) and (KUHN-drak)

For information, visit the Department of Education’s homepage: