KQED to Address Oakland’s Dropout Issue with Content, Education, Resources, and Community Engagement
San Francisco, November 21, 2011—Ask a high school student if they plan to graduate and the vast majority – 92% – say they expect to earn a high school diploma. But in cities across America the reality is very different. Oakland has the lowest graduation rate of the ten largest cities in California– only 30.4%. Students have the will to graduate but do not always have the support or resources. Participating in a new national initiative, American Graduate: Let’s Make it Happen, KQED will help local communities across the Bay Area find solutions to address the dropout crisis. The initiative builds on public media’s long-standing commitment to education by convening conversations and strengthening partnerships between public radio and television stations and local schools, businesses, and community organizations to help students stay on the path to a high school diploma.
KQED is one of 20 stations nationwide participating in a public media initiative funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) to help local communities across the country address the dropout crisis. CPB selected KQED because of the station’s ongoing commitment to education in the community and their particular emphasis on STEM learning tools. Partnering with America’s Promise Alliance, American Graduate will leverage ongoing commitments of Oakland educational and community institutions to improve student engagement and community awareness by stressing the relationship between STEM learning, workforce development, and college and career readiness.
KQED will create local and state-wide multi-platform news and public affairs content and broadcast national content currently being created to raise awareness of the dropout crisis and its impact on communities. KQED has already produced several reports for The California Report and MindShift, and has built a web presence for the initiative in which all pieces can be viewed on demand, www.kqed.org/americangraduate. In addition, KQED will convene community stakeholders to raise awareness of, and bring understanding to, the issue by focusing on innovative solutions.
An American Graduate Teacher Town Hall for teachers and other education professionals in the Bay Area is planned for March 13, 2012 at Laney Community College. The teacher town hall will elevate teachers’ voices and address issues and recommendations unique to this region and is one of 12 American Graduate Teacher Town Halls being conducted in communities across the country with funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. KQED Education will implement professional development trainings for educators with a focus on STEM learning and youth engagement.
KQED will also work directly with students most affected by the crisis. The Bay Area Video Coalition (BAVC) and KQED will work with community partners to provide youth media training and content creation experiences that include interactive learning experiences and media production training for at-risk youth, focusing on peer-to-peer storytelling.
Education has always been a part of KQED’s mission. KQED Education has a long history of creating dynamic curriculum-based materials that bring the power of media into the classroom. KQED Education’s lesson plans are free and downloadable from kqed.org and are used by more than 200,000 Bay Area residents each year.
“The Bay Area is home to some of the world’s leading science and technology companies, but many of our students and young people are not getting the skills they need to fill the needs of the current workforce,” stated Tim Olson, vice president digital media and education. “The American Graduate initiative at KQED will help raise awareness of this issue throughout the Bay Area, in turn building a stronger and more-engaged workforce for our future.”
Dr. Nyeisha Dewitt, Program Officer forAmerica’s Promise Alliance added “Often times, our young people are treated like blight in our community–like objects that we should just get rid of like trash or cover up like graffiti on the side of an abandoned building. The term ‘youth are our future’ is just rhetoric nowadays. The American Graduate initiative is a courageous step toward creating a space to move beyond rhetoric toward authentic dialogue and engagement, which will lead to the discovery of real solutions for young people specifically and the Oakland community as a whole.”
KQED (kqed.org) has served Northern California for more than 50 years and is affiliated with NPR and PBS. KQED owns and operates public television stations KQED 9 (San Francisco/Bay Area), KQED Plus (San Jose/Bay Area), and KQET 25 (Watsonville/Monterey); KQED Public Radio (88.5 FM San Francisco and 89.3 FM Sacramento); the interactive platforms kqed.org and KQEDnews.org; and KQED Education. KQED Public Television, one of the nation’s most-watched public television outlets, is the producer of local and national series such as QUEST; Check, Please! Bay Area; This Week in Northern California; Truly CA; and Essential Pépin. KQED’s digital television channels include 9HD, KQED Life, KQED World, KQED Kids, and KQED V-me, and are available 24/7 on Comcast. KQED Public Radio, home of Forum with Michael Krasny and The California Report, is one of the most-listened-to public radio outlets in the nation with an award-winning news and public affairs program service delivering more than eighteen local newscasts each weekday. KQED Interactive provides KQED’s cross-platform news service, KQEDnews.org; and offers several popular local blogs, video and audio podcasts, and a live radio stream at kqed.org. KQED Education brings the impact of KQED to thousands of teachers, students, parents, and the general public through workshops, community screenings, and multimedia resources.
About American Graduate: Let’s Make It Happen
American Graduate: Let’s Make It Happen, http://www.americangraduate.org/ is a public media initiative funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, http://www.cpb.org/ (CPB) to help local communities across the country address the dropout crisis. CPB, in partnership withAmerica’s Promise Alliance and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, is working with public media stations in 20 Hub Markets where the dropout crisis is most acute to raise awareness of the issue and coordinate action with community partners – all with the goal of helping students stay on course to graduate from high school.
About America’s Promise Alliance
Founded in 2008, Oakland’s Promise Alliance is and Oakland-based program that is dedicated to bringing agencies organizations, businesses and resources into alignment with the goals of the OaklandUnifiedSchool Districtand the Mayor’s office. Our strategic approach to building relationships within the community and beyond allows our collaborative partners to enjoy access to networks and resources that are unmatched by any other alliance in Oakland.
About the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
Guided by the belief that every life has equal value, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation works to help all people lead healthy, productive lives. In developing countries, it focuses on improving people’s health and giving them the chance to lift themselves out of hunger and extreme poverty. In the United States, it seeks to ensure that all people—especially those with the fewest resources—have access to the opportunities they need to succeed in school and life. Based in Seattle, Washington, the foundation is led by CEO Jeff Raikes and Co-chair William H. Gates Sr., under the direction of Bill and Melinda Gates and Warren Buffett.
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