Message from the General Manager
Although it is always difficult to bid good-bye to summer, September always holds much promise as it gets us back to our routines at work, school and in our communities. At WGBY, we’re excited about a major project that is right at the core of what we do. Late last spring, WGBY was selected as one of 34 public television stations to be a regional hub for American Graduate: Let’s Make It Happen.
This initiative is a long-term commitment by public media led by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting to address the dropout crisis affecting so many of the countries communities and their young people. Since its inception just a few years ago, American Graduate has already had dramatic impact. A study by the Johns Hopkins University School of Education shows that public media and local stations serve as trusted communicators, conveners, and capacity builders and that those efforts have contributed to the first decrease in the national dropout rate in years.
Today’s economy, whether in the global marketplace or in our local workplaces, demands 21st century skills and education. That is why WGBY’s commitment to learning is one of our core values and we are pleased to ramp up our efforts even further with American Graduate. Although Massachusetts leads the country by most educational measures, that success is not always distributed evenly. For instance, last year the statewide dropout rate was an admirable 2.2%. But in some of our urban communities that rate was 10% or higher. However, there is good news. With the focus of community programs like the STAY IN SCHOOL campaign, led locally by United Way and Springfield Public Schools, and with help and resources from around the region (including WGBY and American Graduate), the dropout rate in Springfield dropped almost 40% last year!
WIth American Graduate: Let’s Make It Happen, WGBY will convene, train and communicate, sharing stories of challenge and opportunity. Together with our educators and community partners we’ll raise expectations, educational attainment and reduce the dropout rate. For a somewhat immersive idea of what this long-term effort will entail, tune in for any or all of American Graduate Day on Saturday, September 27. More details are elsewhere in this issue.
“Let’s Make It Happen” is a great way to start off the new season. I hope you’ll join us!
Russell J. Peotter