"A school where children don't feel safe is a school where children struggle to learn. It is a school where kids drop out, tune out, and get depressed. Not just violence but bullying, verbal harassment, substance abuse, cyber-bullying, and disruptive classrooms all interfere with a student's ability to learn."
—U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan
Vegas PBS, the public television station that serves Southern Nevada, is taking the lead in linking efforts to address bullying as part of their effort to take action in the school dropout crisis as they are one of the first stations to launch the new nationwide PBS initiative "American Graduate—Let's Make it Happen."
Tina Past, Corporate Communications Director from Vegas PBS shares how they plan to show Not In Our Town: Class Actions as part of their long-term commitment to a community-wide effort to assure all students feel safe at school, achieve academic proficiency, and successfully graduate.
When Clark County School District (CCSD) Superintendent Dwight Jones arrived in southern Nevada in early 2011, he had substantial challenges to face. School performance by many measures was below acceptable, the state’s economy was going to negatively impact school budgets and the dropout rate was the nation’s highest. In Nevada, only 10 out of 100 high school freshmen will earn a college degree within 10 years, half the national average. The national impact of the problem costs the country billions of dollars in lost wages, taxes and productivity.
Superintendent Jones and his administration launched many performance improvement programs
, but he has always emphasized the eradication of bullying and intolerance at school. If there is a correlation between bullying and intolerance and dropouts, then making the community aware of how communities are confronting and overcoming bullying and intolerance is helping in building acceptance in school.
And Vegas PBS has been a big part of getting this messaging out.
In Spring 2011, Vegas PBS produced a DVD and Web recording of CCSD Trustee Chris Garvey’s Parent’s Roundtable on Bullying which assists parents identifying behaviors of a possibly bullied child and the school intervention procedures, including an anonymous Report A Bully
feature on the CCSD website.
Vegas PBS has made a commitment to include discussion and programming about bullying and intolerance as part of its “American Graduate – Let’s Make it Happen” initiative this spring. Not in Our Town: Class Actions will air at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, April 26as the closing bookend to a series of five programs on dropout prevention.
Public Media Engagement
Vegas PBS, one of only 20 PBS stations nationwide selected to act as a Public Media Community Hub, is implementing education resources, raising awareness and developing interactive learning tools and online experiences for diverse audiences.
American Graduate Let’s Make It Happen is a partnership between the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and national partners such as the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and America’s Promise Alliance to help local communities find solutions addressing the dropout crisis. American Graduate builds on public media’s long standing commitment to education by convening conversations, forming and strengthening partnerships between public television and radio stations along with local schools, businesses and community organizations to help students graduate.
As part of the American Graduate project, Vegas PBS is collaborating with other organizations to serve diverse audiences impacted by the dropout issue: students, parents, teachers, administrators, business interests, community and service organizations, media and government entities. Vegas PBS is committing significant resources to provide:
- Online resources to help identify solutions and resources addressing the dropout issue
- Production and distribution of American Graduate: Teacher Town Hall (Thursday, March 29 at 8 p.m.) This television program is moderated by PBS NewsHour Senior Correspondent Ray Suarez and more than 100 hundred teachers and a panel of local education experts discuss the extent of Clark County’s high school dropout rate and identify solutions and best practices to turn it around.
- Production and distribution of three 30-minute programs American Graduate: Road to Reform, identifying Clark County School District trends and resources to address the dropout issue; Teachers Making a Difference discusses teacher positive effects on student and Helping Families Graduate illuminates the role of the family in students staying in school.
These programs include:
- American Graduate: Teachers Making a Difference - 7:30 p.m., Thursday, April 5
- American Graduate: Road to Reform - 7:30 p.m., Thursday, April 12
- American Graduate: Helping Families Graduate - 7:30 p.m., Thursday, April 19
- Not in Our Town: Class Actions – 7:30 p.m., Thursday, April 26
Vegas PBS has committed substantial resources in support of the American Graduate project and has agreed to address this issue for the long term. A critical component for the success of the project is community partnerships. Through the formation of a Community Advisory Council along with actively seeking other collaborative efforts, Vegas PBS is currently expanding community partnerships to maximize efficiencies to address this critical community issue.