American Graduate Series

WUNC's American Graduate Project is part of a nationwide public media conversation about the dropout crisis. We'll explore the issue through news reports, call-in programs and a forum produced with UNC-TV. Also as a part of this project we've partnered with the Durham Nativity School and YO: Durham to found the WUNC Youth Radio Club. 

These reports are part of American Graduate-Let’s Make it Happen!- a public media initiative to address the drop out crisis, supported by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and these generous funders:

    Credit CPB
      Project Funders:

    • GlaxoSmithKline
    • The Goodnight Educational Foundation
    • Joseph M. Bryan Foundation 
    • State Farm
    • The Grable Foundation
    • Farrington Foundation

    More education stories from WUNC


    Arts & Culture
    5:00 am
    Fri August 16, 2013

    Youth Radio: Hargraves Center Director Nate Davis Considers Retirement, After 25 Years

    Jerell Davis, a Youth Radio reporter this summer at WUNC, reports on his grandfather's role at the Hargraves Community Center.
    Credit WUNC

    This is the first in a series of stories from WUNC's Youth Radio Institute, a group of high school students who spent five weeks this summer reporting on issues that matter to young people in North Carolina.

    Growing up I had two homes: my grandparents’ house and the William H. Hargraves Center in the Northside neighborhood of Chapel Hill. My grandfather, Nate Davis, lived at both. He’s worked at Hargraves for 40 consecutive years and helped make it a true community center.

    Read more
    4:34 am
    Wed August 14, 2013

    Teachers, Universities Will Hurt From Loss Of "Master's Bump"

    Teachers will no longer be able to raise their salaries by earning a master's degree.
    Credit Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools

    The automatic salary bump that comes when teachers earn a master's degree is going away.

    Michael Martin is a teacher. His wife is a teacher’s assistant. They love their jobs and work in adjacent rooms in their school in Buncombe County, teaching special needs students and raising three kids of their own. But their life’s work comes with a real-world sacrifice, here in the state that ranks 48th in the country in teacher salaries.

    Read more
    5:00 am
    Mon August 12, 2013

    Guilford Middle School Students Getting Tablet Computers This Week

    Math teacher Melissa Tatum is one of 900 educators who has been trained on the tablet computers. She plans to use Brain Pop in her classroom this fall.
    Credit Jeff Tiberii

    Middle school students in Guilford County are getting tablet computers this week, thanks to a federal grant.


    One of the largest classroom technology initiatives in U.S. history is underway in Guilford County. This week middle school students can begin picking up their tablet computers and get comfortable with the devices prior to the start of classes.

    Teachers have been learning the ins and outs of these Android-based tablets all summer.

    "There is also an encyclopedia on here, all kinds of different things that come preloaded," said Eric Loveday, 8th grade science teacher at Southwest Middle School.

    Read more
    2:14 pm
    Thu August 8, 2013

    High School Grad Rate Hits All-Time High

    For the second year in a row, the state high school graduation rate hit an all-time high.
    Credit Malate269 / Wikimedia Commons

    It’s hard to find bad news in this year’s graduation report from the Department of Public Instruction. More than 83 percent of high school students who began as freshmen four years ago graduated in four years or less. That’s up two points from last year - the previous all-time high.

    Since 2006, the four-year graduation rate has gone up 15 points.

    Read more
    5:28 am
    Thu August 8, 2013

    State of the Re:Union - Dropouts To Graduates & Summer In Sanctuary

    The Care Center part of 'Dropouts to Graduates' on State of the Re:Union
    Credit Emily Fitzgerald

    Over the next few days WUNC will present a series of American Graduate Specials from State of The Re:Union. These programs air on Thursday at 12N & 9p with a a second program on Friday at 12N & Saturday morning at 6.

    Read more
    The State of Things
    12:27 pm
    Tue August 6, 2013

    How Does The "School-To-Prison Pipeline" Work In North Carolina?

    Y.E. Smith Elementary School visit the Nasher Museum
    Credit / Photos by Duke Photography

    A panel of experts join Frank Stasio to discuss the School-To-Prison Pipeline In North Carolina

    During the last several years, you may have heard the phrase "School-to-Prison Pipeline" pop up in conversation. It will often be used in discussions regarding the "Zero Tolerance Policy" and armed resource officers in schools. What the school-to-prison pipeline refers to is a number of policies and practices in place that push children from schools into the criminal justice system.

    Read more
    7:19 am
    Tue July 16, 2013

    Guilford County's First Summer Literacy Camp

    Each morning the summer literacy program begins with a Harambee, a Swahiliword meaning “let’s pull together”.
    Credit Jeff Tiberii

    Guilford County Schools is holding a literacy camp for the first time this summer. It is aimed at improving reading for children living in unstable homes.

    Getting kids to read in the summer has long been a challenge for many grown-ups.  With outdoor activities, camps and family trips, too often books remain closed until the fall. For kids who are living in homelessness and in unstable home environments, the challenges can be even greater. A new summer literacy program in the Guilford County Schools is trying to change that. The goal is for students to maintain or even improve their reading level, build confidence and complete six books.

    After breakfast in the cafeteria at Greensboro College about 50 fueled faces file into an exercise studio for an unconventional morning routine. Each weekday for the next month the literacy program begins with Harambee a Swahili word meaning “let’s pull together.”

    Read more
    Poetic Justice
    7:30 am
    Fri June 14, 2013

    Poetic Justice: Words From Phoenix Academy

    Sacrificial Poets CJ Suitt and Will McInerney reflect on a spoken word project at Phoenix Academy in Chapel Hill

    This past school year, WUNC partnered with the group Sacrificial Poets on a series of after-school writing workshops.  The goal was to help young people tell their own stories using poetry, performance art and now, radio.  This past semester, poets Will McInerney and CJ Suitt taught a small group at Phoenix Academy, an alternative school in the Chapel Hill-Carrboro School District.  They produced this poetic reflection on the experience.

    Phoenix academy sits on a curve of Merritt Mill Road in Chapel Hill. Many students here will be victims of the school to prison pipeline, stereotyping, and other forms of marginalization that render them invisible with no control over how they are seen and in some cases how they see themselves, gifted with vision and insight.

    Read more
    4:57 am
    Wed June 12, 2013

    Two Teacher Training Programs, One Spot In The Budget

    Teaching Fellows from Henderson County, NC.
    Credit Henderson County Schools

    Back in the 1980s, North Carolina had a serious teacher problem. There were shortages in much of the state, but the bigger problem wasn’t how many teachers, but who they were.

    “We had a real need to raise the scholastic profile of candidates for teaching and also to increase the numbers of males and minorities in teaching,” remembers Jo Ann Norris, President and Executive Director of the Public School Forum of North Carolina.

    Read more
    11:01 am
    Fri June 7, 2013

    Report: NC High School Grad Rates Dip

    High school graduates in Orange County.
    Credit Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools

    North Carolina’s high-school graduation rate is headed in the wrong direction. In the past two years, the state’s rate has dropped by about one percent. 

    Two years ago, North Carolina beat the national graduation rate average for the first time. Two years later, the state is back below the national average, as rates have gone up across the country and North Carolina’s have dipped.

    Read more