WQPT Assists Efforts to Increase the Quad Cities Graduation Rate
New Public Media Programming and Public Engagement Initiatives to Help Students and Teachers
WQPT Quad Cities PBS has initiated a series of broadcast, online and community activities 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 Quad Cities and other communities across America to address the high school dropout crisis.
Every year 1 million kids drop out of high school nationwide. In the Quad Cities, over 700 students fail to graduate each year, according to Achieve Quad Cities. The estimated economic impact on the Quad Cities is a loss of $2.3 million per student over a lifetime in revenues and earnings, according to the Alliance for Excellence in Education.
WQPT Quad Cities PBS 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. WQPT Quad Cities PBS and "American Graduate" project partners, Achieve Quad Cities, area public schools, Big Brothers Big Sisters, the Putnam Museum and the Quad Cities Chamber of Commerce 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 Quad City high school graduation rates.
"Education has always been at the center of public broadcasting," said Rick Best, WQPT General Manager. "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 Quad City 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."
WQPT's "American Graduate" initiative began in July with awareness PSA's to encourage community members to volunteer as career mentors to area youth. These are still airing today on WQPT and other area broadcast channels. In addition to increasing the number of adult mentors in the community, WQPT created local programming that educated viewers about the drop out crisis in the Quad Cities and how they could be a part of the community-wide effort to increase the high school graduation rate.
Roundtable "The Drop Out Crisis"
In December and January, WQPT aired a one-hour special featuring experts from the area who talked about the drop-out rate, the steps being taken to identify mentors, to inspire and encourage students to stay in school and to drive awareness about the economic impact to our community.
"I was deeply moved and truly surprised by what I learned in WQPT's Achieve Quad Cities special The Drop-Out Crisis. I've always known how much a personal tragedy it is when a student fails to complete high school. I had no idea of the scope of the impact on our community. Thank you WQPT, for shining light on this very challenging problem facing the QC and for motivating others, as it did me, to be a part of the solution," Deanna Jensen, WQPT viewer.
Visit youtube.com/wqptpbs to see episodes of WQPT's "The Cities with Jim Mertens" featuring Achieve Quad Cities partners in action. You'll also find the special roundtable "Tackling the Drop Out Crisis" featuring area education leaders.
WQPT is a public media service of Western Illinois University.
About American Graduate
The public media initiative, American Graduate: Let's Make It Happen, is helping communities across America identify and implement solutions to address the high school dropout crisis. Supported by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), the multi-year campaign is designed to raise awareness and dialogue through national and local multiplatform programming. Targeting communities with highest dropout rates, the initiative also increases local engagement and action through collaborations and partnerships, and increases student engagement through teacher professional development and classroom curricula. Public radio and television stations - locally owned and operated - reach 99% of the country over the air, have built models for successful intervention in early learning, and have deep connections in the communities they serve. Nearly 300 partnerships have been formed locally through American Graduate and CPB is partnering with America's Promise Alliance and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Visit American Graduate on Facebook, Twitter or AmericanGraduate.org.
The Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), a private, nonprofit corporation created by Congress in 1967, is the steward of the federal government's investment in public broadcasting. It helps support the operations of more than 1,300 locally-owned and -operated public television and radio stations nationwide, and is the largest single source of funding for research, technology, and program development for public radio, television and related online services.