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KERA’s American Graduate Initiative

Support for KERA’s American Graduate initiative is made possible in part by:

Lyda Hill Foundation
Meadows Foundation
American Graduate


The statistics are shocking: One of every four kids in an American high school drops out. That’s why KERA joined a national public broadcasting initiative, called American Graduate, to explore the dropout crisis.

This multiyear initiative included news stories and community outreach through radio, TV, video, social media and events.

Take a look at the topics we explored.



Class of ’17

American Graduate: Class of '17KERA News reporters Bill Zeeble and Stella Chavez launched an ambitious project starting in 2013 that followed a diverse group of students from across North Texas all the way through high school graduation.

• Joel Luera, W.W. Samuell High in Dallas
• Phantasia Chavers, Cedar Hill High
• Jerry Harris, Coppell High (before moving to Oklahoma and graduating there)
• Alex Gutierrez, International Leadership School of Texas in Garland
• Ricky Rijos, Jr., Flower Mound High
• Kelly Bowdy, O.D. Wyatt in Fort Worth
• Chance Hawkins, Cassata Catholic High in Fort Worth

» See, read about and listen to their stories.

Poverty, Race and the Changing Face of Schools

American Graduate: Poverty, Race and the Changing Face of SchoolsPublic schools in North Texas have experienced several demographic shifts over the past half-century. From integration and white flight to immigration and charter schools, the educational landscape has been reshaped.

In this series, we dig deeply into four North Texas high schools — Kimball, Duncanville, Liberty and Wyatt — to explore how the economy and changing demographics affect students’ path to graduation.

» See, read about and listen to the stories.




Homelessness in High School

American Graduate: Homeless in High School
For many teens, graduating from high school is tough enough. Try doing all that reading, homework and studying when you don’t have a place to live.

About 110,000 kids in Texas public schools are considered homeless. Many stay with relatives or friends. Others live in shelters or motels. Some even live on the street.

In this series, we followed some of these students in North Texas — and the people who are helping them out.

» See, read about and listen to their stories.


Generation One

American Graduate: Generation One
In Texas, one in three children has a parent who’s an immigrant — or they’re immigrants themselves. They have to learn a new language, adapt to a different culture and try to fit into a community that may not embrace newcomers.

We examined the experiences of several first-generation Texans and the educators weaving them into the American tapestry.

This project was reported with assistance from an Institute for Justice & Journalism fellowship.

» See, read about and listen to their stories.


Watch our American Graduate video playlist.




LINK (first week series)



Think host Krys Boyd has focused on education issues as part of the American Graduate project.

» Dreaming Of The Dream Act

For many children who were brought to the U.S. illegally by their parents, America is the only home they’ve ever known. Reality sets in, however, when they find it difficult to qualify for financial aid for college or to get a job to pay for their education. We talked about how the American Dream is out of reach for many young people who grew up here with Eileen Truax, author of Dreamers: An Immigrant Generation’s Fight for Their American Dream.
Krys Boyd

» You Are Not Your Alma Mater

Each year high school seniors pray for an acceptance letter to their dream college and start to get realistic about attending that safety school. We talked about why all of that stress is overblown with New York Times columnist Frank Bruni. His book is Where You Go Is Not Who You’ll Be: An Antidote to the College Admissions Mania.

» Intellectual Gaming

Parents and educators alike decry the many hours kids spend playing video games. But what if video games are actually the key to more sophisticated learning? We talked about the potential for games as a teaching tool with Greg Toppo, author of The Game Believes in You: How Digital Play Can Make Our Kids Smarter.

» A How-To From UT Teachers

Good teachers develop their skills over time and the best teaching instructors just might be teachers themselves. That’s the idea behind The Little Orange Book: Short Lessons in Excellent Teaching. Two of the book’s contributors are Brent Iverson of UT Austin and John Sibert of UT Dallas.

View all KERA Education News

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