American Graduate

Every year, more than 1.3 million students drop out of high school. That's 7,000 students a day.

 Students have the will to graduate, but they do not always have the necessary support or resources. The Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), working with national partners, such as America's Promise Alliance and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, has launched American Graduate: Let's Make It Happen — an initiative to help combat the dropout crisis in this country.   Local public radio and television stations, located in 20 impacted "hub markets" where the dropout crisis is most acute, are at the core of the American Graduate initiative.   As part of American Graduate: Let's Make It Happen, WJCT is working with multiple community partners to address the dropout crisis in Duval County and across Florida in a partnership with Florida Public Broadcast System (FPBS) and member stations WDSC, WEDU, WFSU, WLRN and WUSF.   Each month, WJCT reporter Cyd Hoskinson focuses on some of the local programs that help at-risk students in our area earn their diplomas.

Cyd Hoskinson / WJCT

When school starts next year Common Core will be in practice in every public school classroom in Florida, but there are already teachers in Duval County using the standards.

Jacksonville Public Education Fund

"My name is Apryl Shackelford and I am now a specialist with the Parent Academy.  I was previously an intensive reading teacher at Northwestern Middle School.  I am Duval County’s Teacher of the Year."

Cyd Hoskinson / WJCT

Going from being the 8th grade rulers of middle school to 9th grade high school underdogs is one of the toughest transitions most students will ever make.  Unfortunately, not all of them are successful.


89.9 WJCT is participating in the American Graduate project supported by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.  The goal of American Graduate is to reverse the national drop out crisis by identifying and then addressing the factors that cause students to leave school early.

"I'm Dr. Donnie Horner, and I’m the former City of Jacksonville Education Commissioner for Mayor Alvin Brown, delighted to be back home at JU after a two year hiatus with the mayor."

Cyd Hoskinson / WJCT

89.9 WJCT is participating in the American Graduate project supported by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.  The goal of American Graduate is to reverse the national drop out crisis by identifying and then addressing the factors that cause students to leave school early.

“My name is Catherine Bekkedal and I am a district school counselor specialist with the Duval County Public Schools."

Cyd Hoskinson / WJCT

89.9 WJCT is participating in the American Graduate project supported by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.  The goal of American Graduate is to reverse the national drop out crisis by identifying and then addressing the factors that cause students to leave school early.

Cyd Hoskinson / WJCT

89.9 WJCT is participating in the American Graduate project supported by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.  The goal of American Graduate is to reverse the national drop out crisis by identifying and then addressing the factors that cause students to leave school early.

19-year old Andre Williams started kindergarten with the expectation that, 13years later, he would graduate. It may have taken him an extra year but on June 6th, he did, indeed, accomplish that goal.

Getting to this point was anything but a given, however.

Cyd Hoskinson / WJCT

89.9 WJCT is participating in the American Graduate project supported by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.  The goal of American Graduate is to reverse the national drop out crisis by identifying and then addressing the factors that cause students to leave school early.

More than 3 million students in the U.S. are expected to graduate from high school this year. Making it through 12 grades is a marathon of books and tests, disappointment and success. But what of the children who have dropped out, or who want to drop out?  

Cyd Hoskinson / WJCT

WJCT is participating in the American Graduate project supported by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.  The goal of American Graduate is to reverse the national drop out crisis by identifying and then addressing the factors that cause students to leave school early.

Program chair Kimberly Hansen and former mentee Mercelin Etienne talk about the success of the ACE Mentor program in Northeast Florida high schools.

Director of Outreach Juanita Forman speaks about the Taking Care of Business Pregnancy Prevention Program which is geared toward young women ages 15-18.

Principal Jackie Simmons Jr. speaks about the social and academic challenges his students face and how he and his staff work to address these issues.

Mentor Mary Davis-Johnson and her mentee Brionna talk about the Mayor's Mentors program.

CEO Jon Heymann & COO Leon Baxton speak about AmeriCorps which finds volunteers who are trained to mentor in literacy as well as Jewish Family and Community Services which works with the parents/family of at-risk students.

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