For Immediate Release                                                                                    WXXI logo
Contact: Kristin Tutino, WXXI, (585) 258-0253

      American Graduate

WXXI ADDRESSES THE HIGH SCHOOL DROPOUT CRISIS WITH A NATIONAL INITIATIVE TO EDUCATE AND ENGAGE THE COMMUNITY
WXXI Receives American Graduate Grant To Support Its Efforts

Rochester, New York (October 11, 2011) – The high school dropout rate in the Greater Rochester area is a significant problem – and not just for those students who do not graduate. It affects the entire community, impacting our economy, healthcare costs, and workforce. To help address the problem, WXXI has been awarded a $20,000 grant from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) through the National Center for Media Engagement to launch the American Graduate: Let’s Make It Happen initiative in Rochester. The national project is designed to combat the high school dropout crisis by partnering with public broadcasting stations across the country to educate communities on the dropout problem, rally support, and help coordinate efforts to address the problem.

As one of 40 American Graduate Engagement Communities, WXXI will drive widespread awareness of the causes and ramifications of a high dropout rate; provide community members with ways to actively support at-risk students; and promote the pathways to existing community resources by partnering with 2-1-1 and other key stakeholders. WXXI will produce content for TV, radio and Web that addresses the issue and engages audiences. Through the project, the issue will become more relevant to students, parents, educators, and the community.

In early September, WXXI produced a Need to Know Rochester television special on the plight of black male students in the Rochester City School District. The program profiled three City School male students who are facing significant challenges as they try to beat the odds. The program was so engaging that the Rochester City School Board hosted a public screening of the program in early October, with a Q&A session facilitated by WXXI News Director Julie Philipp. The program is now available for viewing online at WXXI.org/grad.

Plans for the future programming and community engagement include:

Live Broadcast Town Hall Summit: WXXI-TV & On-Demand: Airing December 15 8pm-9pm WXXI will produce a live broadcast town hall summit to discuss the issues and community resources for dropout prevention and promoting student engagement.

Homework Hotline: Staying in School Segments: Airing in November and On-Demand WXXI’s statewide homework help series will produce 5 video segments to air within the program from November 2-November 30. The segments will communicate with middle school and high school students about the issues related to dropout and resources and strategies for staying school. These segments will also air on WXXI’s weekly classroom current events series, Assignment: The World, which airs nationally during the school year.

1370 Connection Programs:  Airing September-December (On-Demand After the Broadcast) AM 1370’s daily 2-hour talk radio show will produce a series of programs regarding the dropout prevention and community resources to promote and support parent engagement.
For more information about the initiative, visit: WXXI.org/grad. The site also features resources, on-demand versions of media produced by WXXI, and national media, such as NPR’s series, Schools Out: America’s Drop-Out Crisis.

In addition to the CPB grant, The WXXI American Graduate Community Engagement Project is funded in part by RochesterMentors.

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