October 28, 2016
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Chicago Dropout Rates Targeted When "Choice Bus" Rolls Into Town


Chicago Dropout Rates Targeted by Verizon Wireless and The Mattie C. Stewart Foundation

CHICAGO,  -- Students in all 650 schools in the Chicago Public School system are due to seeInsideOut, a documentary developed by The Mattie C. Stewart Foundation to combat the nation's alarming high school dropout rates. InsideOut exposes the real story of the devastating and lasting effects of dropping out of school, told by those who live with the consequences every day: prison inmates.

Through a partnership with The Mattie C. Stewart Foundation, Verizon Wireless has provided funding to make sure that students in the area receive the opportunity to see the film. The InsideOut rollout began last week at the Gene Siskel Center downtown, as more than 125 Chicago community leaders, elected officials, educators and students previewed the documentary. In addition, The Choice Bus—an experience-based learning tool that is half-classroom and half-prison cell designed to show young people the consequences of dropping out of school—was toured by students from Jane Addams Elementary, the Perspectives Charter School and William H. Brown Elementary School in the days following. The documentary is being shown during the remainder of the school year in Chicago.

"After seeing the documentary and hearing the emotional messages from these inmates, Verizon Wireless knew that we wanted to bring this powerful illustration of the importance of staying in school to students in Chicago," said T.J. Fox, president-Illinois/Wisconsin Region, Verizon Wireless.  

InsideOut has been seen in 43 states across the country. "The dropout rate in the U.S. has reached unbelievable proportions, and we have to use creative approaches to reach our youth and encourage them to stay in school. We are grateful to Verizon Wireless and Communities In Schools for helping us further our mission to increase the graduation rate in Chicago and other communities across the state and nation," said Shelley Stewart, President and Founder of The Mattie C. Stewart Foundation.  

"It is essential that we do all we can to keep students in school and focused on learning," said Jane Mentzinger, Executive Director of Communities In Schools of Chicago. "We are pleased to partner with The Mattie C. Stewart Foundation to provide students with another opportunity to realize the power of education, and school and community leaders with a tool that encourages students to explore meaningful alternatives to crime or violent behavior." Communities In Schools ofChicago will be working to make the film available to schools.  

The InsideOut Toolkit contains a Teacher's Guide, The Mattie C. Stewart Foundation Pledge Card and an InsideOut DVD that contains both the English and Spanish versions of the documentary. To learn more about The Mattie C. Stewart Foundation or to have InsideOut shown in your school or community organization, visit www.mattiecstewart.org.


SOURCE The Mattie C. Stewart Foundation


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