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Howard University > News Room
Press Release  
Release Date: Monday, June 11, 2012 1:53 PM
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Media Contacts:
Natasha Warsaw
American Graduate Coordinator

WHUT Hosts a Teacher Town Hall to Address the Dropout Crisis
in the D.C. Metro Area
Station is partnering with WETA and WAMU as part of public media's American Graduate: Let's Make It Happen initiative to keep students on a path to graduation
WHUT and WAMU will broadcast the town hall next month 


Washington, D.C. (May 21, 2012) Right now, close to 60 percent of Washington, D.C. students do not graduate from high school. To address this crisis locally, public media stations WHUT-TV, WETA and WAMU 88.5 will host a Teacher Town Hall that brings together more than 100 teachers from the District, Maryland and Virginia to discuss education today, with a particular emphasis on the challenges they face in their classrooms. The event will be held on Tuesday, June 5 at 5:00 at WHUT.

The Teacher Town Hall is part of American Graduate: Let’s Make It Happen, a national public media initiative made possible by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) to identify and implement solutions to the dropout crisis. 

“Each year, one out of every four students makes the life altering decision to drop out of school resulting in severe consequences for their future and our country,” said Patricia Harrison, president and CEO of CPB.  “Through ‘American Graduate: Let’s Make It Happen,’ America’s public radio and television stations – locally owned and operated – are engaging local  non-profit partners, business leaders, parents and teachers to help young people stay on the path to a high school diploma.”

In the D.C. area, WHUT, WETA and WAMU are working together as American Graduate DC, collaborating with community partners to raise the region’s graduation rates. 

The American Graduate Teacher Town Hall, moderated by WAMU’s Matt McCleskey, will give teachers an opportunity to share their classroom experiences, suggestions and ideas for keeping students engaged in school.

WAMU 88.5 will broadcast the Teacher Town Hall on Thursday, June 7 at noon and 9 p.m.  WHUT will also air the event Sunday, June 10 at 7 p.m. and again Tuesday, June 12 at 9 p.m. 

“Education has always been at the center of public broadcasting,” said Jefferi Lee, general manager of WHUT.  “That’s why we are proud to be a part of this important national initiative and are honored to work with the local community to make sure DC’s students stay in school and graduate.  We cannot allow a generation of our young people to fall through the cracks.”

Earlier this year as part of its American Graduate work, WHUT established digital media arts clubs in five schools across the District.  Howard University students, trained in the use of digital media and storytelling, are leading the clubs, which tap youths’ interest in digital media and social media.  The clubs provide an opportunity for students to acquire media production and journalism skills as well as critical thinking and problem solving skills that are essential in the 21st Century job market.

On WAMU, education reporter Kavitha Cardoza wrote a series of nine articles examining the causes and consequences of the dropout problem in D.C. and nationwide.  

American Graduate DC stations represent three of the nearly 70 public media and television stations around the country that are working directly with their communities to address the dropout crisis.  Local partners include District of Columbia Public Schools and National Black Programming Consortium.

About American Graduate
The public media initiative, American Graduate: Let's Make It Happen, is helping communities across America identify and implement solutions to address the high school dropout crisis. Made possible by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), the multi-year campaign is designed to raise awareness and dialogue through national and local multiplatform programming.  Targeting communities with highest dropout rates, the initiative also increases local engagement and action through collaborations and partnerships, and increases student engagement through teacher professional development and classroom curricula. Public radio and television stations – locally owned and operated – reach 99% of the country over the air, have built models for successful intervention in early learning, and have deep connections in the communities they serve. More than 600 partnerships have been formed locally through American Graduate and CPB is partnering with America's Promise Alliance and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.  Visit American Graduate on Facebook, Twitter or

About WHUT
WHUT-TV, Howard University Television was founded in 1980 in Washington, D.C. as WHMM. At its inception the station became the first public station in the United States to be licensed and operated by an African-American institution - Howard University. The station broadcasts reach over 2 million households in a 60-mile radius. The station endeavors to underscore Howard University's overall mission in its commitment to excellence, leadership and public service. For over 32 years on air WHUT has become a leader in broadcast communications by providing quality programming for the Greater Washington, D.C. viewing community that is relevant and informative, while offering exceptional professional training in television production, engineering and management.  For more information, please visit

About CPB
The Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), a private, nonprofit corporation created by Congress in 1967, is the steward of the federal government's investment in public broadcasting. It helps support the operations of more than 1,300 locally-owned and -operated public television and radio stations nationwide, and is the largest single source of funding for research, technology, and program development for public radio, television and related online services.

About StoryCorpsNational Teachers Initiative is part of American Graduate: Let’s Make It Happen.  Many of the conversations recorded as part of the National Teachers Initiative will reflect the diverse experiences of educators and students, from both rural and urban school districts with high dropout rates. StoryCorps will record and preserve the stories of more than 625 teachers across the nation in the 2011-2012 school year.


Founded in 1867, Howard University is a private, research university that is comprised of 13 schools and colleges. Students pursue studies in more than 120 areas leading to undergraduate, graduate and professional degrees. Since 1998, the University has produced two Rhodes Scholars, two Truman Scholars, a Marshall Scholar, 30 Fulbright Scholars and 11 Pickering Fellows. Howard also produces more on campus African-American Ph.D. recipients than any other university in the United States. For more information on Howard University, call 202-238-2330, or visit the University's Web site at

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