KQED and American Graduate Help Oakland Students Go Back to School

KQED sponsors August 18 event at Oakland’s Frank Ogawa Plaza:
Fifth Annual Oakland Natives Give Back Attend and Achieve Back-to-School Rally and School Supply Giveaway

Ongoing American Graduate initiative finds success in addressing the dropout crisis in Oakland with expanded coverage, professional development for teachers, youth outreach and partnership with community organizations.

KQED, the public media organization serving Northern California, has led a diverse team of community partners all year in addressing the dropout crisis in Oakland as part of the national public media initiative, American Graduate: Let’s Make It Happen. The company continues its efforts to tackle this growing problem with its sponsorship of the Fifth Annual Oakland Natives Give Back Attend and Achieve Back-to-School Rally and School Supply Giveaway, which will take place on Saturday, August 18, 2012 at Oakland City Hall’s Frank Ogawa Plaza. From 9am to 3pm, students of all ages (pre-kindergarten through grade 12) and their parents will celebrate the beginning of the school year. Registration begins at 8am and the first 1000 students to register for school on this day will receive a backpack filled with school supplies. Parents and students can pre-register at www.oaklandnatives.org/register. Featuring community leaders and special guests including actress Priscilla Diaz (Jessica Ruiz in PBS KIDS’s The Electric Company) the Warriors Girls (the dance team of the Golden State Warriors), the event will be hosted by Golden State Warriors Hype Man Franco Finn and features a wide range of family-friendly offerings, including youth performances, workshops on student success and information booths for parents and students. The event is spearheaded and organized by Oakland Natives Give Back and its partners Office of Mayor Quan, Oakland Unified School District, Imagine That!, KQED and Oakland’s Promise Alliance. For more information on KQED’s American Graduate work including upcoming events, television and radio reports, education blogs with youth videos and student stories and past community events like the Teacher Town Hall, please visit kqed.org/americangraduate.

“The success of the American Graduate initiative here and around the country is yet another example of how public media organizations like KQED are taking on leadership roles in addressing the most important issues of our day,” said John Boland, president of KQED. “In one short year, not only were we able to provide much-needed coverage of the dropout crisis in Oakland, but have galvanized the educational community to make a difference in the lives of its students, teachers, and parents. American Graduate has allowed us to build relationships and support programs that will continue to have a deep impact in the Oakland community beyond the life of this initiative.”

“This initiative and all the events of the day are so important for our students, parents and teachers, and will help make the future even brighter for them and for Oakland,” said Mayor Jean Quan. “The economy has left many children in need, and with one in three of our children living in poverty, this will give them an even start with others. The workshops will provide them and their parents the tools they need to help them learn, grow and succeed.”

“A cohesive effort from across the City of Oakland is needed to reach our ambitious goals for student achievement,” explained Oakland Unified School District Superintendent Tony Smith. “That effort begins by ensuring that students are in class on the first day of school and every day thereafter, prepared to learn and equipped with the tools and support required to do so. Events like the Back-to-School Rallies provide a festive, yet instructive environment that emphasizes the importance of regular attendance and aligns parents, the school district and our community partners around the common goal of providing the conditions necessary for student success.”

“This is a milestone year for the Attend and Achieve Back-to-School Rally. My fellow co-founders and I sincerely appreciate our partnership with KQED, Mayor Quan’s Office, OUSD and Imagine That!, and the support of CPB’s American Graduate initiative, said Dr. Nyeisha DeWitt of Oakland’s Promise Alliance, one of KQED’s key partners in the American Graduate initiative. “For the past five years, I’ve remained committed to this effort because of my own childhood memories of the summer’s end. Having my supplies prior to the first day of school gave me the confidence I needed to feel prepared. Every child should experience that excitement and confidence on the first day and beyond.”

American Graduate: Let’s Make It Happen is a national public media initiative made possible by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) in partnership with America’s Promise Alliance and with support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to help communities across the country identify and implement solutions to the high school dropout crisis. KQED is one of 20 public radio and television stations around the country selected to convene a community of local media, education, civic and corporate organizations. KQED aims to create a better understanding of the dropout crisis in the Bay Area with a focus on Oakland, and to implement plans that positively impact local communities.

KQED’s engagement in the Oakland educational community through the American Graduate: Let’s Make It Happen initiative has been remarkably varied and included in-depth reporting, community engagement, youth training, professional development programs and a wide-range of events:

  • KQED stepped up its coverage of the Oakland dropout crisis with over 20 specific pieces, which included a special Forum with Michael Krasny, broadcast live from Castlemont High School on March 22, 2012 and the Oakland American Graduate series, a video blog showcasing the unique stories of six Oakland high school graduates as they move on to their next chapter in life after graduation. This content joined KQED’s wealth of coverage on educational issues on such programs as Forum, The California Report and Perspectives on KQED Public Radio, This Week in Northern California on KQED Public Television and the popular education and technology blog MindShift at mindshift.kqed.org.
  • KQED sponsored numerous events in the community around the dropout issue such as:
    1. The Teacher Town Hall at Laney Community College on March 18, 2012.
      Attended by 160 teachers and educational community leaders and moderated by Glynn Washington of NPR’s Snap Judgment, the Town Hall created a space for teachers to engage in conversations around the issue and get access to local resources. KQED Public Radio aired the Teacher Town Hall in its entirety on Thursday, March 29, 2012.
    2. Youth Film Lab at Oakland School of the Arts (June 18, 2012)
      KQED, TILT and the Disposable Film Festival gave 14 students from Oakland a rare opportunity to take part in a day-long filmmaking workshop to express their thoughts on the dropout issue through the creation of short films.
    3. The first-ever Oakland Youth Friendly Business Awards on September 13, 2012
      These upcoming awards will recognize Oakland’s most generous businesses and employers providing youth with workplace mentoring and internships.
  • KQED Education continues its partnership with ConnectEd and I-SEEED to create and offer a year-long professional development program with a focus on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) learning and youth engagement for teachers from Oakland high schools.
  • KQED, in association with Bay Area Video Coalition (BAVC), continues to provide media training and content creation experience for at-risk youth to highlight their voices in the local and national conversation surrounding the dropout issue.
  • KQED has built key relationships with stakeholders in the educational community. The diverse team of community partners involved in American Graduate programs include the Bay Area Video Coalition (BAVC), the City of Oakland’s Office of the Mayor, ConnectEd, East Bay Green Corridor, I-SEEED, Holy Names University, Laney Community College, Oakland Community Organizations, Oakland Unified School District (OUSD), Oakland’s Promise Alliance, Teach Tomorrow in Oakland, Step to College – Castlemont, I-SEEED, Step to College – Fremont, Roses in Concrete, Homies Empowerment, Teachers Improving Learning with Technology (TILT), Gay Straight Alliance, Disposable Film Festival, Oakland Youth Commission, Jonas Family Fund, Inner City Advisors, Ella Baker Center for Human Rights and Bay Area Urban Debate League.

About KQED:
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 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 stations include KQED 9, KQED Plus, KQED Life, KQED World, KQED Kids and KQED V-me, and are available 24/7 on Comcast. KQED Public Radio, home of Forum and The California Report, is one of the most-listened-to public radio stations in the nation with an award-winning news and public affairs program service delivering more than eighteen local weekday newscasts and news features. KQED Interactive provides KQED’s cross-platform news service, KQEDnews.org, as well as 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:
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. Made possible 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. More than 600 partnerships have been formed locally through American Graduate and CPB is partnering with America’s Promise Alliance and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Visit American Graduate on Facebook, Twitter or AmericanGraduate.org.