[caption id="attachment_97114" align="alignleft" width="124"] The average national graduation rate was 75 percent in 2009, up 3.5 percentage points from 2001. Still, that means 1 in 4 students drops out of school.[/caption]

The last straw for 17-year-old Alton Burke was a note left on his door. The high school dropout picked up the phone and re-enrolled at South Hagerstown High.

Burke missed roughly 200 days of class, but Heather Dixon, the student intervention specialist who left the note, never gave up on him.

Aggressive efforts to prevent students such as Burke from dropping out contributed to...

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