American Graduate Community Engagement Initiative 2011


This is an archived page. Please visit our 2012 WSKG AmGrad project.


Every nine seconds in America, a student becomes a dropout. The lifelong impact of dropping out of school is tremendous: dropouts are more likely to rely on public assistance, have poorer health, or become incarcerated than their counterparts who finish high school.


To learn more about services and programs in your community that address the Dropout Crisis please contact your 2-1-1 service provider, or contact your local Board of Cooperative Educational Services (BOCES).

You can also contact Erik Jensen, WSKG's Director of Community Engagement, at ejensen@wskg.orgor 607-729-0100 x319 if you have questions about the series or if you are interested in continuing the conversation about the Dropout Crisis in your community.


Stories and interviews produced by WSKG Radio and the Innovation Trail will examine the dropout crisis in our region, as well as the impact that dropping out has on individuals and our community.

In two special episodes of Community Conversation, we took a look at the problem of high school dropouts in our own region and talked about some of the ways to help keep young people in school.


11/28/11, 10:00pm - High School Dropouts
The high school dropout rate is rapidly increasing in many cities throughout the U.S. Teachers, counselors, lawmakers and parents are teaming up to reverse this disturbing trend. This program examines how adults in the Sacramento/Stockton area are literally going door-to-door to catch truants, threatening legal action against their parents, and providing second chances to kids who've already dropped out but want to return. We also pay a chilling visit to San Quentin Prison to meet "lifers" who trace their downfall to dropping out, but are now getting GEDs while incarcerated.

11/28/11, 10:30pm - 9 Seconds: A Community Talkback
See a follow-up panel discussion to High School Dropouts with local experts and community members sharing their opinions, perspectives and ideas on the subject. WSKG Radio's Crystal Sarakas hosts.

11/29/11, 10:00pm - Tavis Smiley Reports: Too Important to Fail
This program looks at the status of black teenage boys and examines what it will take to make certain these at-risk males are not dismissed as throw-away kids. The program focuses on the lives of black teenagers who are achieving against enormous odds. Tavis Smiley profiles schools that are tackling the crippling drop-out rate and are turning things around. The program captures how educators are making a difference for these boys -- what teaching techniques work and how community outreach and mentorship can compensate for the lack of other personal and social resources.

11/30/11, 10:00pm - Original Minds
Five teenagers stigmatized by being in Special Ed. struggle to articulate how their brains work, and discover that they are smarter than they thought. In a one-size-fits-all educational system, kids with learning disabilities suffer from lack of self-esteem. They become alienated and drop out. But the protagonists of ORIGINAL MINDS buck the trend. They work intensively with the filmmaker to tell their own stories. Their narratives reveal the unique approach to learning that each must discern and claim as his or her own if they are to succeed in the world.


Encourage your chilren and students to join the conversation.


The True Cost of High School Dropouts by Henry M. Levin & Cecilia E. Rouse, NYTimes

Denzel Washington on High School Dropouts, At-Risk Youth by the PBS NewsHour

American Graduate

New York Dropout Prevention Summit

New York State Governor's Summit

New York State Education Department - 2011 High School Graduation Rates

New York State Center for Rural Schools

Grad Nation

15 Effective Strategies for Dropout Prevention

National Dropout Prevention Center

National Dropout Prevention Center on Facebook

The Meadows Center for Preventing Educational Risk

Engaging Students With Learning Disabilities Early On



The WSKG American Graduate Community Engagement Project is funded by CPB through the National Center for Media Engagement.
American Graduate: Let's Make It Happen, launched by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting in May, is an investment in public media stations that are working in their communities to address dropout crisis.