Panhandle PBS Aims to Slow The Dropout Rate

Panhandle PBS, public television for Amarillo, Texas, addresses the dropout crisis facing America by participating in the national project American Graduate. Working in partnership with Amarillo Independent School District (AISD) and Panhandle Twenty/20, Panhandle PBS's community engagement efforts will help Texas Panhandle youth stay in school. Targeting students and adult community stakeholders, the project involves both on-air and online efforts to improve community awareness around the high school dropout issue and what can be done to improve high school completion rates.

The project has four components:

  1. Community Conversation: This on-air broadcast has a panel discussion hosted by Ellen Green, the City Commissioner, and will include perspectives from educators, experts, community stakeholders and students on the dropout crisis and its local impact. This program will be rebroadcast on the web and components will be shared through the project’s social media venues. A 60-minute one-on-one program will be taped with Donna Beegle, a poverty expert, and will serve as a possible background material for the Community Conversation.
  2. Community Summit: This in-person event brings together community stakeholders to hear from, and respond to, guest lecturer Damen Lopez, Founder of the No Excuses University Network of Schools. Clips from this event will be rebroadcast through the project’s website and social media venues.
  3. Electronic Town Hall Meeting: This ongoing web-based discussion targets adult community stakeholders with information, resources, viewpoints and video collected over the course of the project. Youth will also be invited to take part in the electronic town hall meeting – independent from the auspices of AISD - as their voice should be heard on this issue, as part of the larger town hall framework.
  4. Youth Involvement to create messages: Panhandle PBS reaches out to students and classes through personnel to develop messages to encourage students’ friends/peers to stay in school. These video messages will be able to be submitted individually or as class projects and prizes will be offered. The top one or two messages will then be professionally produced as public service announcements for use on the web and broadcast stations. All messages submitted will be available for public viewing through Panhandle PBS's website, the project’s YouTube channel, or both. As a project partner, AISD will also be provided access to share these messages with students as they see fit.

Watch the #PanhandleGrad webcast here, 'Stories of Champions.'

To watch more videos, visit Panhandle PBS's American Graduate website here.