WOSU is providing new online resources, the result of broadcast, and community activities it initiated as part of ”American Graduate: Let’s Make It Happen,” a national public media initiative funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) to help Columbus and other communities across America to address the high school dropout crisis.
WOSU is one of 60 public stations around the country working directly with their communities to address the dropout crisis. WOSU and “American Graduate” project partner, United Way of Central Ohio 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 increase Franklin County high school graduation rates.
Columbus’ “American Graduate” initiative began on July 27, 2011 when WOSU convened key stakeholders to take stock of the initiatives and programs in central Ohio to support student graduation and examine what can be done to expand efforts and sustain successes. A second forum was organized in November featuring video profiles of local programs to prevent student dropout and looking at the issue from a student’s point of view. Representatives from 15 organizations participated in the forums led by United Way of Central Ohio and various units of The Ohio State University. The forums were broadcast in October and December. A follow-up on radio aired on November 29. The forums and radio call-in program are accessible at online along with the video profiles of the AT&T Success Centers, Big Brothers Big Sisters Project Mentor and the Academic Acceleration Academy. The online resources also include a compilation of literature on dropout prevention.
In Franklin County, 1,383 students failed to graduate in 2011, according to data gathered by the Ohio Department of Education. “Increasing high school graduation rates is a key focus for United Way of Central Ohio,” said Dr. Nancy Nestor-Baker, Education Mobilization Administrator. “When WOSU asked if we were interested in working on the American Graduate initiative, we said, ‘Count us in!’ We saw the project as a way to build community awareness about dropout issues, draw attention to effective efforts that help central Ohio’s young people graduate, and encourage individuals to work together for educational improvement. We were not disappointed.” Marcelita Haskins, the education director at WOSU, has coordinated the project.