CET Kicks Off "American Graduate: Let's Make It Happen"


Kellie May

CET Promotion & Communications

513-345-6511 or kmay@CETconnect.org

Gloria Skurski

Chief Content Officer and American Graduate Director

937-220-1645 or gskurski@thinktv.org


CET Kicks Off “American Graduate: Let’s Make It Happen”


Public media to tackle dropout crisis with new programming and public engagement initiatives.


Cincinnati - CET launched a series of broadcast and online activities in support of ”American Graduate: Let’s Make It Happen,” a national public media initiative funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting to help Cincinnati and other communities across America to address the high school dropout crisis in mid-January.


Every year 1 million kids drop out of high school nationwide. In Ohio, 39,200 students failed to graduate in 2010, according to the Alliance for Excellent Education. The estimated economic impact on the Greater Cincinnati region is a loss of $180 million in revenues and earnings, according to the Community Research Collaborative of Cincinnati.


“Millions of students around the country, including many right here in Cincinnati, start out with great hope for the future. Yet, somewhere along the way, they give up and make the decision to drop out,” said Patricia Harrison, president and CEO of CPB. “Through the American Graduate initiative, public media stations – locally owned and operated – are bringing together parents, educators, and business and community leaders to restore students’ hope and encourage them to stay on a path to high school graduation, and a more successful future.”


CET 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. CET and “American Graduate” project partners Cincinnati Public Schools, Strive Partnership, United Way 2-1-1, Cincinnati Youth Collaborative, Mentoring Works and 91.7 WVXU 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 improve Cincinnati high school graduation rates.


“Education is central to our purpose as a public media organization” said David Fogarty, President and CEO of CET. “We are pleased to be a part of this national initiative, and to join the impressive collaborative of community partners that are working together.”


At 9:20 a.m. on January 12, 2012, in conjunction with National Mentoring Month, 91.7 WVXU will officially kick-off “American Graduate: Let’s Make It Happen” with a report about the importance of mentoring on Impact Cincinnati.


The radio broadcast will be followed on January 13 by a special edition of CET’s public affairs series Focus. Host Kathy Lehr and guests will discuss the effectiveness of mentoring and how to volunteer. Focus will air on ThinkTV14/WPTO, January 13 at 7:30 p.m. and on CET, January 15 at 12:30 p.m.. The program will also be streamed at www.CETconnect.org/focus.


The “American Graduate” project web site, www.cincy-americangraduate.org, will also launch in mid-January. Information about the initiative and mentoring will be available online. CET and 91.7 WVXU will begin broadcasting public service announcements (PSAs) in January, encouraging caring adults to become mentors to at-risk youth. These PSAs will lead viewers to the web site or invite them to call the Cincinnati “American Graduate” hotline.


Public affairs coverage of the drop-out issue will continue throughout the year on both 91.7 WVXU and on CET, culminating in a one-hour television broadcast in the fall of 2012 that will feature both local and national experts. Additionally, student perspectives on the challenges of staying in school will be captured through student media labs in local middle and high schools. The media labs are also designed to help students develop next-generation skills.


The local initiative will also address early learning, where students’ trouble often begins. Research has shown that children who cannot read by fourth grade have a difficult time mastering content and progressing to the next grade level. As a result, they lose interest in school and often drop out. To help address this issue, CET has partnered with John P. Parker and Pleasant Hill schools to help improve educational outcomes for young learners.


Drawing upon national PBS resources, CET will introduce PBS’ Raising Readers to these schools. CET will offer professional development for early learning educators, conduct a SUPER WHY! Reading camp on January 9-13th, set up a Reading Corner in school libraries and provide information for parents. Raising Readers is an early learning initiative developed to help children learn to read.


Major local funding for Raising Readers has been provided by the Procter and Gamble Fund of the Greater Cincinnati Foundation.


“We are delighted to bring public media resources to our youngest learners,” said David Fogarty, “and to have additional support from the community.”


About "American Graduate: Let's Make It Happen": "American Graduate: Let's Make It Happen" is a public media initiative funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) to help local communities across the country address the dropout crisis. CPB, in partnership with America'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 Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB): 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 operation 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.


About CET: CET is Greater Cincinnati’s leading provider of education and enrichment in both living rooms and classrooms, reaching more than 2 million residents, 470,000 students and 37,000 teachers. Through PBS and local programming, CETconnect.org, innovative multimedia curriculum projects, parent workshops and professional development for teachers, CET positively impacts our community with rich and diverse resources. CET was the first licensed educational television station in the nation, the first high-definition public station in Ohio, and, through CETconnect.org, the first public television station to offer a community-based public media on-demand service. For more information about CET, visit www.cetconnect.org/.