KERA’s American Graduate Initiative
The statistics are shocking.
One of every four kids in an American high school drops out.
That’s why KERA joined American Graduate, a national public broadcasting initiative, to explore the dropout crisis.
In addition to our ongoing education news coverage, this multiyear project includes feature stories, audio, video, photos and community outreach through radio, TV, video, social media and events.
These are the topics we’ve explored:
AMERICAN GRADUATE SERIES
KERA News reporters Bill Zeeble and Stella Chavez launched an ambitious project starting in 2013 that followed a diverse group of students from across North Texas all the way through high school graduation:
• Joel Luera, W.W. Samuell High in Dallas
• Phantasia Chavers, Cedar Hill High
• Jerry Harris, Coppell High (before moving to Oklahoma and graduating there)
• Alex Gutierrez, International Leadership School of Texas in Garland
• Ricky Rijos, Flower Mound High
• Kelly Bowdy, O.D. Wyatt High in Fort Worth
• Chance Hawkins, Dunbar High in Fort Worth
Public schools in North Texas have experienced several demographic shifts over the past half-century. From integration and white flight to immigration and charter schools, the educational landscape has been reshaped.
In this series, we dig deeply into four North Texas high schools:
• Kimball High in Dallas
• Duncanville High
• Liberty High in Frisco
• Wyatt High in Fort Worth
They have to learn a new language, adapt to a different culture and try to fit into a community that may not embrace newcomers.
We examined the experiences of several first-generation Texans and the educators weaving them into the American tapestry.
This project was reported with assistance from an Institute for Justice & Journalism fellowship.
About 110,000 kids in Texas public schools are considered homeless. Many stay with relatives or friends. Others live in shelters or motels. Some even live on the street.
In this series focusing on North Texas, we followed some of these students — and the people who are helping them.
AMERICAN GRADUATE CHAMPIONS
An American Graduate Champion commits time, skills and resources to make sure young people succeed. (See Champions on the national level here.) Click on each to watch their videos or read their stories:
• Sarah Matteson, Frontiers Advisor at Texas Woman’s University
• Mark Harrington, Academic Decathlon coach at Seagoville High School
• Laura Laywell, third grade teacher, and Alex Laywell, volunteer coordinator at International Rescue Committee. Both work with refugee youth at Dallas’ Vickery Meadow neighborhood.
• Jasmine Africawala, librarian at the Dallas Public Library
• Nakia Douglas, principal of Barack Obama Male Leadership Academy
• Betsy Price, mayor of Fort Worth
• Jessica Soto, pre-college adviser with the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Fort Worth
• Josh Hamilton, an AVID and debate teacher at Saginaw High School
• Alejandro Pérez, Jr., a life coach and teaching artist for Big Thought’s Creative Solutions program in Dallas
AMERICAN GRADUATE VIDEOS
Watch our American Graduate video playlist.
AMERICAN GRADUATE DISCUSSIONS ON THINK
As part of the KERA American Graduate initiative, Think host Krys Boyd talks with guests about every aspect of the education spectrum, including: