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


Held September 24 at 7 p.m. at WXXI’s Studios

(Rochester, New York) September 18, 2012 – Every year, thousands of Upstate New York high school students drop out of high school, crippling their career prospects, and adding to the region’s economic challenges.  WXXI’s Innovation Trail addresses this issue with Innovation Conversation: Middle School Moment, a discussion on the high school dropout rate in the Rochester region and the effect it has on our community. The forum, held at WXXI's Studios (280 State Street) on Monday, September 24 at 7 p.m., ?is free and open to the public. Seating is limited and reservations are required. To be part of the studio audience call (585) 258-0252 or email

The forum will feature a short PBS FRONTLINE film called Middle School Moment, which explores a growing body of evidence suggesting that students make the decision to drop out while they’re in middle school. Immediately after the film, audience members will be encouraged to talk about the key facts, local challenges, and set goals for personal and community action to reverse the dropout trend.  A panel of leading experts will be on hand to help answer questions and provide additional information, which includes: Dr. David Hursh, Warner School of Education at the University of Rochester; Dr. Linda Kramer Schlosser, Ralph C. Wilson School of Education at St. John Fisher College; and Jeremy Smith, Community Development Director at the NEAD/CDF Freedom School. WXXI News Director Julie Philipp will moderate the panel.

The forum is part of WXXI’s American Graduate Initiative, designed to educate the community on the dropout crisis, rally support for citizen involvement, and help provide pathways to community resources to address the problem. Thisforum will be followed by a PBS FRONTLINE special, Dropout Nation, airing Tuesday, September 25 at 9 p.m. on WXXI-TV/HD. In the special, FRONTLINE spends a semester embedded inside Houston’s Sharpstown High School, a once notorious “dropout factory” that is part of an ambitious experiment aimed at turning around failing schools and cutting the dropout rate.  WXXI’s American Graduate Week (September 22nd-September 30th) features programming on WXXI-TV, WXXI-World, WXXI News, and AM 1370 as a kick-off to a yearlong focus on the issue. See the WXXI American Graduate website for details and to learn how you can become involved:

Innovation Conversation: Middle School Moment and Frontline’s Dropout Nation are made possible in part by Hillside Work-Scholarship Connection, preparing students for graduation, college, and a career.

Innovation Trail, funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), is a collaboration of six upstate New York public media outlets led by WXXI, and including WNED (Buffalo), WRVO (Syracuse/Oswego), WSKG (Binghamton), WMHT (Albany) and North Country Public Radio (Canton). e Innovation Trail provides in-depth reports about the innovative technologies, businesses, and policies that are helping rebuild the region’s economy. You can see Innovation Trail’s reporting at


WXXI is the essential, life-long educational media resource for the Greater Rochester area. WXXI puts the community first with programming that stimulates and expands thought, inspires the spirit, opens cultural horizons and promotes understanding of diverse community issues. The formal affiliation between WXXI and the Little Theatre, established in December 2011, enables the two organizations to work more efficiently by pooling resources and strengths in a number of areas including back-office operation and improved fundraising capabilities.  Log on to for more information about our services and programs.

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