WMMT, KET and WKYU-PBS have helped build a conversation on improving student graduation rates in the state of Kentucky.
KET’s American Graduate Initiative builds on our extensive work in education across the state, from preschool through adult education. KET kicked off the initiative in fall 2014 with a screening and panel discussion about Dropping Back In, KET’s national series that puts a face on the dropout crisis by profiling adults who have dropped out and showcases programs and organizations that have successfully helped them change their lives. Since then, KET has convened and actively participated in ongoing stakeholder meetings with educational, governmental, and community organizations that serve high-need young people in Louisville/Jefferson County as we work together to keep these students engaged in their educations and to reengage those who have already dropped out. Many of KET’s education services and resources as well as our coverage of Kentucky education issues on air and online are pulled together under the American Graduate banner, giving the initiative statewide exposure.
The CPB American Graduate grant has made possible several specific efforts, including:
- Providing community engagement workshops for at-risk youth and first-generation community college students. KET’s coordinator Gwen Kelly is a well-known community activist and artist in Louisville and uses these talents to conduct workshops such as Bracelets and Brainstorming and Encouragement Banners in schools, social service organizations, the local community college, and other venues. These arts workshops offer Gwen and the young people to not only talk about why they need to stay in school but also their dreams for their lives when the graduate. Watch a short video about Gwen and her work at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZkEvn9LNG0I&feature=youtu.be.
- Reporting on the challenges and community-driven solutions associated with the dropout crisis and honoring the work of partners and champions, both on air and online. KET’s education team now meets regularly with the public affairs and health production teams to discuss possible education-related topics for ongoing KET series and then promotes these programs on the American Graduate website amgrad.ket.org/home/.
- Honoring American Graduate Champions and Partners. The KET American Graduate website is also the home for American Graduate champion and partner profiles. Champion profiles were integrated as local content into the 2015 American Graduate Day broadcast. Several of these profiles have been or will be integrated into regular KET series. For example, a segment in production about Right Turn, a program that helps incarcerated youths turn their lives around, will be integrated into Connections with Renee Shaw when she interviews Anthony Smith, a Louisville Metro City Government leader recently tapped for a national position. Smith is also an American Graduate Champion.
- Launching a content service for news organizations across the state that provides free access to KET content, including news articles and video segments.
KET has also integrated its CPB Ready to Learn and CPB Fast Forward grants and activities into the American Graduate Initiative. The CPB Fast Forward grant made possible the production of Dropping Back In and the companion outreach campaign/materials.
To find out more on the efforts of each station, visit their respective websites below: