“American Graduate: Let’s Make It Happen” is CPB’s multiplatform, five-year initiative to help communities reduce the number of students who fail to graduate within four years of entering a public high school: more than 1.3 million each year. CPB’s $15 million investment in efforts to address this national crisis could make a significant contribution to revitalizing the economy, reducing crime rates nationwide and enhancing the nation’s competitiveness in the global marketplace. (Unless on-time graduation rates increase, nearly 12 million students will likely drop out during the next decade, resulting—if they never complete high school—in a loss to the nation of $1.5 trillion in earnings over the course of their lifetimes.)
To address the crisis, CPB harnessed the creative energy of more than 75 stations and more than 800 partner organizations in more than 30 states to accomplish two goals: One, raise awareness, both of the crisis and of what people can do about it, by creating national and local media content, both on air and online, about all facets of the issue. Two, engage and empower at-risk students through community collaborations and classroom resources.
Working in tandem with hub stations serving markets with some of the worst graduation rates in the country are additional stations that received National Center for Media Engagement community-engagement grants for outreach or productions customized to the education needs of their own communities. Their efforts include the following:
Local partnerships. Stations have engaged more than 800 national and community-based partners to mobilize community involvement and action.
Local content. Stations have produced, aired and streamed local content and PSAs to increase awareness and understanding.
Local forums. Stations are hosting teacher town halls, community forums and screenings, and business leader meetings to generate dialogue on how to resolve the local dropout crisis.
Local volunteerism. Stations are connecting mentors with at risk-students through internships, career fairs and volunteer fairs to help keep them on the path to graduation.
Teacher professional development. Stations are empowering teachers with professional development and digital classroom resources to help engage at-risk students.
Parental connection. Stations are empowering parents with knowledge and tools to help keep their children on track to graduation.