September 17, 2014
JACKSON, MS – Mississippi Public Broadcasting (MPB) has been awarded a $200,000 grant from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) under the American Graduate initiative. The funds will enable MPB to expand its dropout prevention efforts through the state. Nearly 40 percent of Mississippi teenagers will never make it to graduation day.
“Mississippi has one of the highest dropout rates in the nation,” said MPB Executive Director Ronnie Agnew. “That’s why MPB has made dropout prevention one of our top priorities. We know that we have a significant role to play in helping our state achieve the level of education that our children need. We need students who are coming to school prepared and on track to graduate from high school. I know that the American Graduate program will help MPB make the difference for the students of Mississippi.”
American Graduate is a dropout prevention initiative striving to increase understanding about the challenges for at-risk youth. It focuses on the importance of a strong foundation in early education and the need for consistent caring adults as keys to raising graduation rates.
MPB will kick off the initiative with “American Graduate Day”, a nation-wide broadcast event dedicated to helping high school students stay on track to graduation, college and career success.
“American Graduate Day” airs Saturday, Sep. 27 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on MPB TV.
“We want to use the power of media to provide the resources and services to improve youth outcomes for all students from preschool through college and onto thriving careers,” said Nikki McCelleis, MPB deputy executive director for education. “MPB hopes to make a significant impact towards decreasing the dropout rate, while continuing to promote graduation and overall academic success.”
During the special broadcast, MPB TV will showcase a series of short films produced by Mississippi high school students. The films aim to engage and encourage students, parents and educators to get behind the dropout prevention cause. The students produced the short films while participating in MPB’s Youth Movement Through Media Institute. Some of the films are:
Bestselling author and U.S. Army veteran Wes Moore hosts the broadcast. Additional hosts include Juju Chang (ABC’s “Nightline”), Bianna Golodryga (Yahoo!), Hari Sreenivasan (“PBS NewsHour Weekend”), Lauren Wanko (“NJTV News”), and “Sesame Street’s” Elmo.
“American Graduate Day” is part of American Graduate: Let’s Make It Happen, a public media initiative funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting to help local communities across America find solutions to address the dropout crisis.
Mississippi Public Broadcasting(MPB) provides instructional and public affairs programming to Mississippians through its statewide television and radio network. MPB enhances the work of educators, students, parents and learners of all ages by providing informative programming and educational resources. MPB’s locally-produced programming focuses on the people, resources and attractions that reflect Mississippi’s unique culture and diverse heritage. Children’s television programs constitute a major portion of the daytime and weekend morning schedules. MPB provides a valuable resource to Mississippians in disseminating information as part of the state’s emergency preparedness and response system. Since 1970, MPB has won over 400 national, regional and statewide awards, including Emmy®, Edward R. Murrow and Parents’ Choice® Awards. For more information on MPB, its programs, mission or educational resources, please visit www.mpbonline.org.
Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), a private, nonprofit corporation created by Congress in 1967, is the steward of the federal government’s investment in public broadcasting. It helps support the operations of more than 1,300 locally-owned and -operated public television and radio stations nationwide, and is the largest single source of funding for research, technology, and program development for public radio, television and related online services.
American Graduate: Let’s Make it Happen was launched in 2011 with 25 public media stations in high need communities to spotlight the high school dropout crisis and focus on middle and high school student interventions. Today, more than 80 public radio and television stations in over 30 states have partnered with over 1000 community organizations and schools, as well as Alma and Colin Powell’s America’s Promise Alliance, Everyone Graduates Center at Johns Hopkins University School of Education, Alliance for Excellent Education, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Newman’s Own Foundation to help the nation achieve a 90% graduation by 2020. With primetime and children’s programming that educates, informs, and inspires public radio and television stations — locally owned and operated — are important resources in helping to address critical issues facing today’s communities. According to a report from the Everyone Graduates Center at Johns Hopkins University School of Education, American Graduate stations have told the story about the dropout crisis in a way that empowered citizens to get involved, and helped community organizations break down silos to work more effectively together. In early 2014, CPB and PBS KIDS committed an additional $20 million for the “American Graduate PBS KIDS Fund” to also help communities connect the importance of early learning as part of a student’s long term success. In addition to station grants for local engagement, the Fund will support the creation of children’s content and tools to help parents, particularly those from low income communities, better prepare their young children for long term success. Fourteen American Graduate station grantees have also been awarded CPB early education grants to reach children ages 2-8 with programming and services developed through the Ready to Learn Initiative, a project funded by the U.S. Department of Education.