Vision: Our work together on American Graduate will produce young people who become engaged, contributing, healthy, economically self sufficient and employed to their full potential.
Mission: To meet this goal, it is essential that all young people graduate from high school with a quality education and are prepared academically, socially, emotionally, and culturally for post-secondary education or career.
American Graduate: Let’s Make It Happen launched in St. Louis in November 2011 with a teacher town hall moderated by the PBS NewsHour’s Gwen Ifill. Since then, over 50 community partners have committed to improve high school graduation rates across the St. Louis region. The American Graduate Steering Committee and community partner network guide the development of the vision, goals, and structure for our collective work on American Graduate. (Below: Students participate in 9 Network's teen town hall)
The Nine Network is using our full capabilities on air, online and in the community to create understanding and action around improving high school graduation rates. Our work in St. Louis approaches high school graduation from a broad perspective of impact—working to align key supports to students as they age from birth to college completion.
From the partner network, six working groups have been developed to identify the key issues that must be addressed in order to improve high school graduation rates:
Aligned Systems of Best Practices: Identify research- based models and practices that can be adopted by the partner network; devise regional implementation and evaluation strategies.
Early Warning and Intervention: Identify key risk factors related to students dropping out.
Youth Engagement: Strategize effective and creative ways to engage youth; establish a youth advisory group that will help inform initiative and encourage peer driven activity.
Parent Engagement: Identify community organizations with current parent engagement models and/or successful parent engagement practices.
Making the Economic Case: Document the impact of dropouts on the regional economy.
Pool of Resources Accessible to Everyone: Identify strategies for aggregating and disseminating resources across the St. Louis Region.
Major American Graduate Activities to Date in the St. Louis Region
Teacher Town Hall to amplify teacher voices
Community conversations with youth and educators respectively to better understand these perspectives on the dropout crisis
Student Gallup poll to inform our work
Youth Town Hall to provide a forum for young people
Youth content creation through the Nine Academy
Professionally produced 24 segments of on-air American Graduate content (30 seconds to 30 minutes)
American Graduate national website AmericanGraduate.org and American Graduate local website nineNet.org/AmericanGraduate
Content Themes Identified by Community Partners
Missouri public media stations participated in a nation-wide 'virtual teacher town hall' project. Teachers were asked a series of questions about things that are most important to them--from challenges to "A-ha! moments," from lessons learned to job satisfaction, from curriculum to parent engagement. The topics tackled in this project showcase a wide range of voices and provide teachers with a chance to interact and share with one another, all while adding to the conversation on America's schools. Hear more Teacher Voices.
•America SCORES St. Louis
•Big Brothers Big Sisters of Eastern Missouri
•City of St. Louis
•East St. Louis Police Department
•Emerson Park Development Corporation
•Herbert Hoover Boys and Girls Club
•HOME WORKS! Teacher Home Visit Program
•Preferred Family Healthcare
•Shearwater Education Foundation
• St. Louis Beacon
• St. Louis Graduates
• St. Louis Internship Program
• St. Louis Mental Health Board
• Today and Tomorrow Educational Foundation
• United Way of Greater St. Louis
• Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis
• Vision for Children at Risk • Wyman Center
• Cooperating School Districts
• Gateway IT High School
• KIPP Inspire Academy
• Missouri Charter Public School Association
• Normandy School District
• Rockwood School District Department of Education
• Roosevelt High School
• St. Louis Public School District
• Tomorrow’s Builders Charter High School
• Lincoln University Extension
• St. Louis Community College
• St. Louis University
• University of Missouri St. Louis
• University of Missouri Extension
• Washington University in St. Louis