Florida State University’s public radio and television station WFSU has received an American Graduate Champion award from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting for its commitment to education and support of students and their families.
A national public media initiative, American Graduate: Let’s Make It Happen examines the nation’s high school dropout crisis and empowers communities to implement solutions. WFSU is helping keep more Tallahassee students on track to graduate as part of the public broadcaster’s role in the initiative.
“Through the American Graduate initiative, WFSU has helped increase awareness in our community of the challenges that some of our students face to reach that goal of a high school diploma,” Kim Kelling Engstrom, director of Community Engagement at WFSU, said. “We have been able to use our media — radio, television, online and on-the-ground resources — to shine a spotlight on this issue and facilitate partnerships to make a difference.”
A recent report from the Everyone Graduates Center at the Johns Hopkins University School of Education confirmed the impact that public media continues to have in helping to improve high school graduation rates.
Through the American Graduate: Let’s Make It Happen initiative, public broadcasting stations have entered into more than 1,000 partnerships with businesses, schools, faith-based and other nonprofits to inspire dialogue and action toward solutions and help more young people stay on the path to a high school diploma.
More than 1,700 hours of national and local public media content and events have brought disparate organizations together and inspired local citizens to become American Graduate Champions, donating time and other resources.
The Johns Hopkins report highlighted WFSU’s creation of a monthly professional networking lunch through its partnership with the Success Academy at the Ghazvini Learning Center, a second-chance program for students at high risk of dropping out. Students have the chance to meet and talk with community professionals about what it takes to pursue a particular career path.
“The true power of public media to improve civic life lies in their unique assets combined with their national reach and community relationships,” said Robert Balfanz, co-director of the Everyone Graduates Center at the Johns Hopkins University School of Education.