CHARLOTTE – Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools has launched a campaign designed to bring high school dropouts back to school.

A team of CMS staff, led by social workers, will visit the homes of students who have not shown up for the current school year. Team members will discuss options for continuing education and earning a high school diploma and provide specific, individualized counseling to each student. The campaign kicked off Sept. 26.

“The CMS graduation rate has been going up in recent years and we’re pleased with that progress,” Superintendent Heath Morrison said in a statement. “But losing one (student) in four is still too many. We have to prepare our students for the globally competitive workplace that awaits them – and without a high school diploma, they can’t compete.”

The district’s graduation rate for 2012 was 75.1, according to the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction.

The Alliance for Excellent Education estimates that 53,800 of N.C. students in the class of 2010 were dropouts. About 70 percent of the nation’s fastest growing jobs also will require education beyond high school.

“We cannot afford to let so many of our students abandon their education,” Morrison said. “A high school diploma isn’t a guarantee of success – but not having one is almost a guarantee of failure.”