American Graduate Joins National Leaders at White House Summit on Next Generation High Schools

Posted by Jennifer Cook on

Responding to President Obama’s call in this year’s State of the Union Address to reinvent American high schools to allow more students to seize opportunities in today’s economy, public media’s American Graduate initiative will participate today in Washington, D.C., in the first-ever White House Summit on Next Generation High Schools.

The Summit is convening students, educators, philanthropists and entrepreneurs from across the country who will identify ways in which American high schools can promote personalized learning, work-based learning experiences, deeper ties to post-secondary, and include a focus on expanding science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) opportunities for girls and other groups of students who are underrepresented in these high-growth, well-paying fields.

Heeding the Summit’s call to action, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting will, through American Graduate, support stories for broadcast about new approaches to high school education across the country. Local stations will host community conversations and will provide PBS Learning Media resources to educators for use in their classrooms. Students will create digital content, including news reports, for programs such as the PBS NewsHour Student Reporting Labs.

“Organized around American Graduate, a diverse range of public media colleagues and other partners across the country has for several years been building a national movement committed to improving youth outcomes,” said Polly Anderson, WUCF General Manager and Executive Director. “The Summit offers American Graduate an opportunity to expand and energize that movement, putting the U.S. on a path to achieve a 90 percent graduation rate by 2020.”

Indeed, for many years, American Graduate has been showcasing ways in which high schools can prepare more of youth for success in the 21st century workplace.  In the last year and a half alone, public media stations participating in American Graduate have:

  • Shared more than 38 million resources on air, online, and in the community.
  • Created positive opportunities to celebrate American Graduate Champions, caring consistent adults in the lives of young people, celebrating more than 8,000 American Graduate Champions.
  • Broadcast nearly 12,000 hours of content and engaged 432,088 community members in 3,281 community gatherings and events, helping communities seek solutions associated with increasing the graduation rate. 
  • Deployed digital platforms to spotlight relevant issues around the dropout crisis, achieving more than 7 million web views. Twitter chats, infographics, social media campaigns and more have played a critical role in encouraging communities to discuss and act on improving youth outcomes, with nearly 24,0000 Tweets and Facebook posts.

At WUCF TV, our own American Graduate initiative has included:

  • Tangelo Park Transformation: See how businessman and hotelier Harris Rosen is turning around a Central Florida community with an investment in education.
  • Dance Happy: Meet a 12-year-old Central Florida girl who's changing lives of homeless children with her Dance Happy Project.
  • Zebra Coalition: The Zebra Coalition assists lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and all youth (LGBT+) ages 13 – 24 facing homelessness; bullying; physical, sexual and drug abuse; and isolation from their families with individualized programs to guide them to recovery and stability.
  • Second Harvest Food Bank: Go inside the kitchens of Second Harvest Food Bank to learn about the job-skills training program that is changing lives.

Learn more about WUCF's American Graduate program here.

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