American Graduate

Rhema Thompson / WJCT

Public broadcasting and education have always had a close relationship, and WJCT highlighted that tight-knit dynamic Tuesday night with its first American Graduate Champion Awards dinner.

Rhema Thompson

For about 127,000 students and 8,000 teachers, Monday morning marked the start a new year and new beginnings in Duval County Public Schools.

It's a year that will be full of many changes: a brand-new statewide assessment; a series of high-profile new districtwide programs--like teacher performance incentives; and widespread technology upgrades.  

Rhema Thompson / WJCT

This week marks a milestone for many high school seniors across Duval County: Graduation.

Rhema Thompson / WJCT

This week marks a milestone for many high school seniors across Duval County: Graduation. 

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.

Gretchen Lynch is president of the Duval County Council of PTAs, she spoke with WJCT's Cyd Hoskinson.

U.S. Air Force

Jacksonville is a military-friendly town with three Navy bases a Coast Guard station and numerous National Guard centers.

It was only four years ago that the military began working with the Duval County public schools through its School Liaison Officer Initiative to address the needs and concerns of military kids.

Dawn Kaunike set up the program at 14 of the Navy’s 17 bases in the Southeast.

Kaunike was a military brat and later a military spouse, so when she says military kids have a lot to deal with, she’s speaking from experience.

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

There are many reasons why kids leave high school before graduation, and according to researchers those reasons are likely rooted in the sixth grade.

Why sixth grade? That’s when most Florida students make the transition from elementary to middle school.

It can be a very tough year, according to Putnam County School Superintendent Phyllis Criswell.

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.

Communities in Schools

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.

Betty Burney, Executive Director of I’m A Star Foundation.

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.

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