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KERA’s American Graduate Initiative

Support for KERA’s American Graduate initiative is made possible in part by:


Lyda Hill Foundation



Meadows Foundation



American Graduate


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:




Class Of ’17


American Graduate: Class of '17KERA 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


» See, read about and listen to their stories.




Race, Poverty And The Changing Face Of Schools


American Graduate: Poverty, Race and the Changing Face of SchoolsPublic 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


» See, read about and listen to their stories of change.




Generation One


American Graduate: Generation One
In Texas, one in three children has a parent who’s an immigrant — or they’re immigrants themselves.

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.


» See, read about and listen to their stories.



Homeless In High School


American Graduate: Homeless in High School
For many teens, graduating from high school is tough enough. Try doing all that reading, homework and studying when you don’t have a place to live.

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.


» See, read about and listen to their stories.





» Read American Graduate stories about the racial conversations that happened in the first week of the 2016-2017 school year





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

» Read about more American Graduate Champions




Watch our American Graduate video playlist.




Think's Krys Boyd

As part of the KERA American Graduate initiative, Think host Krys Boyd talks with guests about every aspect of the education spectrum, including:

New research into the science of learning
Racism on campus
How to pay for college
How to create more inclusive classrooms
A look at substitute teaching

» Browse and listen to all education shows from Think






View all KERA Education News

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