Communities In Schools to Participate in First-Ever AMERICAN GRADUATE DAY September 22, 2012

Multi-platform Event Features Local and National Programming, Partners, and Celebrities Focused on Improving High School Graduation Rates in America

New York, NY, –Communities In Schools announced today that it will be one of more than 20 organizations  across the country participating in American Graduate Day on Saturday, September 22, 2012. Presented by WNET New York Public Media and Public Radio Exchange (PRX), American Graduate Day is a multi-platform event featuring a live television broadcast, radio playlist with premiere documentaries, and participation from national partner organizations, celebrities and athletes to spotlight solutions to the nation’s dropout crisis in which one in four students do not finish high school.  American Graduate Day is part of the public media initiative, American Graduate: Let’s Make It Happen, made possible by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB).

“As part of American Graduate Day, public television and radio stations are working in their local communities to help people understand the impact of the dropout crisis and create champions from the community to help students stay on the path to a high school diploma,” said Patricia Harrison, president and CEO of CPB. “American Graduate Day will use all of public media’s platforms – on-air, online and in the community – to tell this story and focus on local organizations and community responses that are working through parents, teachers, students, and business and community leaders to make a difference in the lives of these young people.”

In a segment moderated by ABC News Correspondent JuJu Chang, WNET will showcase Communities In Schools and the work it is doing on a community level to help students stay on track to graduate.  The following individuals will participate in the live segment, highlighting the ways Communities In Schools surrounds students with a community of support, empowering them to stay in school and achieve in life.

  •  Communities In Schools President Dan Cardinali
  •  Communities In Schools Board Chairman Elaine Wynn
  •  Communities In Schools of Philadelphia Alumna Rasheedah Phillips
  •  Communities In Schools of the Charleston Area Site Coordinator Jean Rebecca

With special guests including PBS NewsHour senior correspondent Ray Suarez, the national television broadcast will air live on public television stations from the Tisch WNET Studios at Lincoln Center from 1:00 to 8:00 p.m. EST on Sept. 22 (check local listings) and the Communities In Schools segment will air starting at 4:30 p.m. EST.  Public television stations representing more than 50 percent of U.S. households will broadcast American Graduate Day with many including local content alongside the national features.

“We are honored to partner with American Graduate Day to raise awareness of a crisis that is affecting so many of our nation’s young people,” said Dan Cardinali, president of Communities In Schools.  “Through this partnership, we look forward to educating more Americans on the proven solutions available to communities across the nation.”

Viewers will be able to participate in the broadcast by asking questions and sharing ideas before and during the broadcast on Twitter using the #AmGrad hashtag and on Facebook. Those interested in becoming an American Graduate Champion can also call in at 800-313-2477or log on to to find out more about the national and regional organizations and how to help in their hometowns.

Among the national organizations that will participate in the broadcast are After School All-Stars, America SCORES, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Boys & Girls Clubs of America, buildOn, CFY, City Year, Communities in Schools, Girls Inc., Harlem RBI, Horizons National, Jumpstart, Little Kids Rock, NYC Mayor’s Interagency Task Force on Truancy, Chronic Absenteeism and School Engagement, NAACP, National Council of La Raza, Reel Works Teen Film Making, United Way, YouthBuild and the YMCA of the USA.

Following American Graduate Day, the focus on education will continue throughout the week.  Programming on the PBS NewsHour willfeature several American Graduate Day segments, including a panel discussion and a segment about the challenges of keeping Williston, North Dakota students in school as their area struggles with an oil boom. The documentaryFRONTLINE Dropout Nation will air on September 25, and the World Channel is producing a week of education programming inspired by American Graduate Day. Public radio stations will continue their broadcasts from the PRX American Graduate Day Playlist throughout the week as well.

American Graduate: Let’s Make it Happen is helping local communities identify and implement solutions to the high school dropout crisis. American Graduate Day demonstrates public media’s commitment to education and its deep roots in every community it serves. Beyond providing programming that educates, informs and inspires, public radio and television stations – locally owned and operated – are an important resource in helping to address critical issues, such as the dropout rate.

In addition to national programming, more than 75 public radio and television stations have launched on-the-ground efforts working with communities and at-risk youth to keep students on-track to high school graduation. More than 800 partnerships have been formed locally through American Graduate Day, and CPB is working with Alma and Colin Powell’s America’s Promise Alliance and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

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