American Graduate Community Town Hall

WFSU's Tom Flanigan moderated as educators, legislators, community leaders and students gathered to discuss alternate pathways to a high school education. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to a student's education. Career academies promote job readiness

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American Graduate: Let's Make It Happen is funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting working with national partners, such as America's Promise Alliance and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

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The initiative builds upon public media's long-standing commitment to education by facilitating conversations and strengthening partnerships between public media stations and local schools, businesses, and community organizations.

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Nearly 90,500 students did not graduate from Florida’s high schools in 2010; the lost lifetime earnings in Florida for that class of dropouts alone total nearly $24 billion.

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American Graduate: Let's Make it Happen is public media's long-term commitment to help communities work more effectively together to improve outcomes for young people. Because WFSU is a trusted convener and compelling storyteller, we are uniquely qualified and passionate about addressing this crisis.

Problem: Far too many students drop out of high school. In Leon County, the graduation rate is nearing 80%. In counties surrounding Leon, the rate is much lower. Students who drop out without a diploma are far more likely to be periodically unemployed, on government assistance, and in and out of prison. This impacts the entire community.

Solution: WFSU is convening and engaging the community to help improve youth outcomes and work more effectively together. WFSU has launched an ongoing radio series, Voices from the Classroom, that airs weekly on WFSU-FM 88.9. The program features student voices that inform our listeners about the challenges students face. Through our American Graduate Day television broadcast we have featured community partners that make a difference in young people's lives. Through community conversations, forums, and town halls we are building understanding of the causes and possible solutions to the crisis using compelling content on air, online, and in the community.

WFSU has aligned our PreK-12th grade resources around the American Graduate initiative to include free digital resources (PBS KIDS, PBS Learning Media) as well as training for parents and educators to ensure every child has the education they need to succeed in school.

Partners and Outcomes: WFSU has partnered with numerous organizations around the community including Leon and Jefferson County Schools, the United Way of the Big Bend, 50 LARGE, Big Brothers Big Sisters, the Character Center and others in order to increase graduation rates in our area. Community partners report that students in American Graduate programs show increased commitment to school, graduation, and preparing for future. Our partners also say that public media tell stories that enable people to become involved and implement solutions.

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