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


    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.”

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    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.

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    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.

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    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.

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    5:00 am
    Fri June 7, 2013

    Poetic Justice: Graduating High School At 16

    Justavis Monique Brooks tells her story about graduating from high school.

    This school year, WUNC partnered with the group Sacrificial Poets to host a series after-school programs called Poetic Justice.  They're designed to help under-served youth turn their life-stories into poetry and performance art.

    This semester they were at Northern High School in Durham.  That's where poet Kane Smego, a writer and youth leader with Sacrificial Poets, met Justavis Monique Brooks.  The 16-year-old senior graduates from high school today.

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    5:00 am
    Fri May 31, 2013

    Taking Flight For Aviation Jobs Of Tomorrow

    Hannah Wade takes control of the FAA-approved flight simulator at the Aviation Academy in High Point.
    Credit Jeff Tiberii

    Across the state thousands of high school students will graduate this weekend. About three dozen are from the Aviation Academy at T.W. Andrews High School in Guilford County. It’s one of only a few such programs in the state preparing young men and women for careers in aeronautics and engineering. And after two classes of students, the program’s graduate rate is perfect. 


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    7:22 am
    Thu May 30, 2013

    Tablet Training Underway In Guilford County

    Jake Henry is overseeing the table program in Guilford County.
    Credit Jeff Tiberii

    Thirteen thousand students in Guilford County will receive tablets computers when they begin school this fall. Last year the county was awarded a federal “Race to the Top” grant for 30 million dollars. Now one of the largest classroom technology initiatives in US history is underway. 

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    The State of Things
    11:53 am
    Wed May 29, 2013

    How Will North Carolina Education Change?

    A student at McDougle Elementary School.
    Credit Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools

    WUNC Raleigh Bureau Chief and Education Reporter Dave Dewitt updates us on education legislation

      A North Carolina House Committee approved yesterday a bill that would provide funding to low income families wanting to go to private or religious schools Host Frank Stasio talks about that and other education-related news with WUNC Raleigh Bureau Chief and Education Reporter Dave Dewitt.

    5:01 am
    Fri May 24, 2013

    The Tipping Point: Arapahoe Charter, Pamlico Schools, And ‘Choice’ In Rural NC

    Arapahoe Charter School in Pamlico County.
    Credit Dave DeWitt

    This is a story about choice. And it starts in the lunch line at Arapahoe Charter School in Pamlico County when students choose between pizza and french fries.

    And while that choice may seem easy to make, the choice to offer it is a little more complicated.

    Charter schools aren’t required to offer meals, even to kids who qualify for free or reduced-price lunches. But Arapahoe does – and sixty percent of the students here qualify.

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    5:26 am
    Tue May 21, 2013

    Proposed Board Splits Charter Advocates

    A bill to create a new Charter School Board has passed the State Senate.
    Credit Dave DeWitt

    Charter schools have been around in North Carolina for about a decade and a half, and for most of that time, the relationship between charters and traditional public schools has alternated between frosty and hostile.

    “One of the fundamental reasons for introducing charter schools is to put an element of competition into the education arena and let parents make the choice,” says Baker Mitchell. Mitchell opened his first charter school in 2000 outside of Wilmington and a second six years later; he has a third opening this fall.

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