88.5 WFDD tackles dropout crisis in Piedmont Triad

New Public Media Programming and Public Engagement Initiatives to Help Students and Teachers

WFDD, the public radio station licensed to Wake Forest, has initiated a series of broadcast, online and community activities and conversations as part of ”American Graduate: Let’s Make It Happen,” a national public media initiative funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) to help the Piedmont Triad and other communities across America to address the high school dropout crisis.

Every year 1 million kids drop out of high school nationwide. The decision to leave school impacts the nation, costing 944 billion dollars a year in lost tax revenue. In North Carolina, that amount is 169 million dollars, according to Education Week Research Center.

WFDD is one of more than 60 public media and television stations around the country that are working directly with their communities to address the dropout crisis. WFDD and “American Graduate” project partners have developed a blend of media across several platforms – TV, radio, online – and community engagement efforts designed to raise public awareness and offer solutions to increase the Piedmont Triad high school graduation rates.

“Education has always been at the center of public broadcasting,” said Greg Keener, who oversees membership and education programs at WFDD.  “That’s why we are proud to be a part of this important national initiative and are honored to work with the local community to make sure the Piedmont Triad’s students stay in school and graduate.  We cannot allow a generation of our young people to fall through the cracks.”

“Every year, one million of our nation’s young people make the life-altering decision to drop out of school resulting in severe consequences for their future and our country,” said Patricia Harrison, president and CEO of CPB.  “Through the ‘American Graduate: Let’s Make It Happen’ initiative, America’s public radio and television stations – locally owned and operated – are engaging local  non-profit partners, business leaders, parents and teachers to help young people stay on the path to a high school diploma.”

WFDD’s “American Graduate” initiative began in 2011 with a series called Community Conversations. Recordings of each event, along with the series of news reports produced by the WFDD news team preceding each community conversation, are available online. A resource site where community members can research and view statistics, listen to features from WFDD’s Community Conversation, view videos, access a PDF of these documents and find out how to get involved in improving the graduation rate, is available at: http://wfdd.org/outreach/conversation.php.

For more information about the high school dropout rate, copies of the brochure, and suggestions for what individuals can do to help, visit wfdd.org/amgrad/amgrad.html.