Dropping Back In

As part of our American Graduate initiative, KLRU presents back-to-back airings of Dropping Back In, a Kentucky Educational Television (KET) series focusing on America’s dropout crisis airing on public television stations across the country. During these half-hour documentary-style programs, you will meet some of America’s dropouts, come to understand the issues they face and learn about the people and programs helping them drop back in and move on with their educations and lives.

For more information and to watch full episodes, visit the program’s official site here.

Dropping Back In #101 “Second Chances”
Re-airs on KLRU September 13 at 1 pm and September 14 at 10 pm

High school dropouts, educators and researchers introduce the economic and personal costs of dropping out, why a high school equivalency is no longer enough and the benefits of dropouts gaining second chances. Two former dropouts, Kellie Blair Hardt, homeless as a child, now an award-winning teacher, and Hasan Davis, former commissioner of juvenile justice for the state of Kentucky, tell their stories.

Dropping Back In #105 “Building A Better Life”
Airs on KLRU September 13 at 1:30 pm and September 14 at 10:30 pm

Building a Better Life for the Dropping Back In series looks at successful apprenticeship programs around the country that are helping get adults back into education and into jobs. There are currently 2 million open jobs that have no skilled laborers to fill them. This new program in the series looks at successful apprentice and training-based programs preparing under-educated and unemployed people for available jobs by teaching valuable skills.

Who Cares About Kelsey?

KLRU presents Who Cares About Kelsey?, a documentary featuring Kelsey Carroll, a student who has one goal: to graduate from high school.

However, there are plenty of reasons why she shouldn’t. She attends a school with one of the highest dropout rates in New Hampshire and has dealt with homelessness, sexual abuse and ADHD. As a freshman, she didn’t earn a single academic credit, but she did get suspended for dealing drugs.

Who Cares About Kelsey? is the story of Kelsey’s transformation from a defiant and disruptive “problem student” to a motivated and self-confident young woman. Along the way, critical figures in her personal and educational life shape her coming of age and play important roles in an education revolution that’s about empowering – not overpowering – youth with emotional and behavioral challenges.

The documentary premieres August 27 at 9 pm on KLRU. For more information, visit the program’s website.

Who Cares About Kelsey? is part of KLRU’s American Graduate initiative funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. The American Graduate initiative seeks to establish a clearer understanding about why students drop out of high school and how drop out impacts our economy and society.

KLRU Education travels to the White House to share work on Play to Learn™

On Tuesday, August 18, 2015, KLRU took part in a White House convening around the ConnectHome initiative, the plan to provide low-cost/free high-speed connectivity in over 275,000 low-income residences across the US and on tribal lands. Austin has been selected as the mentor city for the project due to collaborations including the City of Austin, HACA, Google, Austin FreeNet, United Way for Greater Austin, and KLRU, among others.

KLRU’s role in the panel was to share our work on Play to Learn™, the United Way-led initiative that brings parents and youth ages 2-4 together for a variety of fun learning activities, including the use of digital tablets. Throughout the ten-week program, the families take home books and learning materials and upon successful completion of the program, they take home a digital tablet loaded with educational apps for the whole family. We utilize PBS resources to illuminate at-home learning experiences, including video from PBS Kids, apps like PBS Parents Play and Learn and Daniel Tiger’s Day and Night, and KLRU’s own Smart Screen Time®/La Pantalla Inteligente messaging. Play to Learn™ is a powerful example of the kinds of programs that can occur once a low-income community gets reliable and affordable access to the Internet.

 

American Graduate Champion: Rosanna Worthington

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KLRU shares the inspiring stories of the people that are making our community a success! As part of our American Graduate initiative, we’re honoring American Graduate Champions that have been submitted by the community.

IMG_0558Today’s Champion is Rosanna Worthington! Rosanna is a Communities In Schools (CIS) teacher in Manor ISD.

The recognition letter submitted by the community said, “Ms. Worthington is a champion because she has really helped me gain self-confidence, and she constantly encourages me to stand up for myself and not be afraid to speak up. I know she always welcomes me with an open heart and mind, and because of her, I am gaining self-confidence.”

Do you know someone in our community who is working to improve high school success for students throughout Central Texas? Recognize them as an American Graduate Champion! American Graduate Champions can be students who work as mentors, business leaders who serve as role models, school officials making changes to better the system, parent activists, and even struggling students who are overcoming obstacles in order to graduate.

American Graduate Champion: Kevin Ritcherson

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KLRU shares the inspiring stories of the people that are making our community a success! As part of our American Graduate initiative, we’re honoring American Graduate Champions that have been submitted by the community.

kevinritchersonwgraduateandhermomToday’s Champion is Kevin Ritcherson! Kevin is a College Prep Coach and youth motivator. He presents College Prep boot camps at schools across Texas and in other states.

His nominator, Donna Hoffman, says, “Kevin exemplifies a great role model of attitudinal positivity, flexibility and firmness — clarity of vision. He is a great motivator for young people who might not otherwise see themselves as college material and provides information to young people who might not otherwise know what to do to prepare themselves to be accepted in and succeed in college.”

Do you know someone in our community who is working to improve high school success for students throughout Central Texas? Recognize them as an American Graduate Champion! American Graduate Champions can be students who work as mentors, business leaders who serve as role models, school officials making changes to better the system, parent activists, and even struggling students who are overcoming obstacles in order to graduate.

American Graduate Champion: Rudi Andrus

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KLRU shares the inspiring stories of the people that are making our community a success! As part of our American Graduate initiative, we’re honoring American Graduate Champions that have been submitted by the community.

rudi_andrus.jpegToday’s Champion is Rudi Andrus! Rudi is the Executive Director of Mainsprings School. She works with staff, children, parents and the community at her National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) accredited early childhood school.

Her nominator, Crystal Martinez, says, “Rudi is a champion because she truly is passionate about making a difference in the lives of children and families. She really enjoys walking through her school and seeing the children be happily engaged in learning. Rudi is a great writer, has received grants and is an effective speaker when explaining the devastating effects of poverty on young children and their families to the business community.”

Do you know someone in our community who is working to improve high school success for students throughout Central Texas? Recognize them as an American Graduate Champion! American Graduate Champions can be students who work as mentors, business leaders who serve as role models, school officials making changes to better the system, parent activists, and even struggling students who are overcoming obstacles in order to graduate.

With a month left of summer, teach your kids ‘Smart Screen Time’

KLRU Kids

With just a month left before classes start for Austin-area school districts, and as temperatures rise in Central Texas, it’s important to make sure the time your kids spend in front of their screens is educational and constructive.

ben&cookieBen Kramer, vice president of education for KLRU, started the Smart Screen Time initiative two years ago to develop a set of guidelines for digital media use for children, parents, educators and caretakers. We sat down with Ben to talk about the program and what parents can do with only one month of summer left for many kids.

Download a printable version of the Smart Screen Time guide (pdf): Smart Screen Time™ | La Pantalla Inteligente™ To watch Smart Screen Time videos in Spanish and English, click here.

 

Where did the idea for Smart Screen Time come along and what were the original goals of the project?

The idea first came along because we were starting to get questions about how much screen time is safe for kids, and it turned out to be a much more complicated answer than just a set time limit. In the meantime, what was happening is that in our own outside world, the use of screens was exploding, particularly with kids. Because as tablet computers became more and more prevalent, younger and younger kids could manipulate them in ways that they couldn’t do with keyboards or even with smartphones. The tablets really did make a huge difference for these littlest kids.

So, we embarked on some kind of messaging campaign – we are perhaps the only media company in families’ lives that will actually tell them to turn us off. We know that our educational goals for our programs and our apps and all the work that we do isn’t really complete until the kids can actually do things with what they’ve picked up from the programs or games, like read or solve problems. That was the genesis of it, and what we’ve found is that it’s just really resonated with all walks of life. Everyone you talk to has at least some concern about the amount of screen time that kids are getting in their lives, and what it might mean for their development. So, we wanted to come at it in a way of saying, “We’re a media company, so we’re in the midst of it, we produce, we make stuff, but here’s when you know when it’s too much.” We want to shift the question from a simple quantity question to a more quality question, and that’s how Smart Screen Time came up.

We say that kids know instinctively when screen time is smart and when it’s silly. When it’s provoking their thinking, or when it’s just pure entertainment. And we all have time in our lives where we just want pure entertainment. We all have our trash TV moments, we all have our silly movie moments, we all have our stupid game moments, we have all that, so it would be foolhardy to go to kids and say, “No, we only want your screen time to be smart.” That’s not the lives that we as adults lead. So instead, we think of much more realistic and beneficial conversation among families is, “Well, what’s our family balance between smart and silly?”

Many similar campaigns simply tell parents how much to limit their children’s social media use. Why encourage the parents to use screens along with their children?

It’s the same sort of carryover that you would have if a parent is doing a hands-on activity with a kid, or if they’re reading a book with a kid. The three-way interaction of parent and kid and learning event, be it a book or a tablet or a program, is amplified when the discussion occurs. It really helps solidify learning. So the tendency is for kids to just wander off and do their own thing with the screen, and without this injection of saying talking actually solidifies the learning, and it doesn’t have to be talking right there in the moment, it can be after the fact, we lose this opportunity because it’s too easy for kids to go off and have their screen lives, so we want to bring adults back into this triad.

With only one month left of summer, what can parents do now to help their kids be successful when it comes to using screens efficiently?

The last month is critical, because first of all, the temperature has gone way up, so these kids are going to be spending more time indoors. Secondly, kids are going to be more bored during the summer. Thirdly, the more schools turn to tablets and chrome books and whatever for the main delivery of their resources, our messaging really doesn’t change as we get to the end of summer and into the fall again. The key is to have an honest and open dialogue with your kids and to reach some decisions that all of you can be comfortable with, not just adult dictating to kid, but what screen practices are you going to uphold in your home that apply to everyone? Including the balance of smart and silly, including the determination when somebody in the home becomes a screen zombie, that some decision has to happen at that moment, and that decision is either get active and do something else or go to bed, that’s it. There’s no wiggle room. These problems are not going to go away at the end of summer.

What other resources do you have for parents who want to help their children use screens in a smarter way?

We’ve tried to build KLRU Kids as a safe browsing experience for kids to find stuff they’re interested in. On that, we have a set of screenshots of all the apps we put on our machines, our iPads, so that folks can get a glimpse of what we recommend online through the website itself but then within the website there’s the recommended apps button which will give the list of things we recommend for tablets.

It All Adds Up airs July 27th

KLRU presents It All Adds Up, a documentary profiling the teachers and students of Wayne State University’s “Math Corps,” a groundbreaking organization that partners struggling middle and high-school students from Detroit’s public schools with collegians, who help teach vital math and life skills the kids need to succeed.

After 16 years, the program’s results speak volumes: more than 90 percent of Math Corps’ students graduate from high school, and more than 80 percent attend college. Produced by Academy Award-winning director Sue Marx, the documentary features engaging and heart-warming interviews with alumni and current campers who testify to the life-changing impact of the Math Corps.

The documentary premieres July 27 at 10 pm on KLRU.

It All Adds Up is part of KLRU’s American Graduate initiative funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. The American Graduate initiative seeks to establish a clearer understanding about why students drop out of high school and how drop out impacts our economy and society.

American Graduate Champion: Briana Lopez

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KLRU shares the inspiring stories of the people that are making our community a success! As part of our American Graduate initiative, we’re honoring American Graduate Champions that have been submitted by the community.

briana-lopez-lifeworks-logoToday’s Champion is Briana Lopez! Briana is a mother of two and a full-time retail employee who recently obtained her GED through Lifeworks. Briana aspires to study pharmacy and plans on attending ACC and eventually Texas State or UT.

Jaime Rich, Briana’s nominator, says, “Briana’s story shows her determination to further her education, no matter how difficult or scary it seemed. She was driven to make a better life for herself and her girls. Despite the many roles and commitments in her life, she was able to carve a place in her daily routine for her education.”

Do you know someone in our community who is working to improve high school success for students throughout Central Texas? Recognize them as an American Graduate Champion! American Graduate Champions can be students who work as mentors, business leaders who serve as role models, school officials making changes to better the system, parent activists, and even struggling students who are overcoming obstacles in order to graduate.

American Graduate Champion: Libby Lucera

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KLRU shares the inspiring stories of the people that are making our community a success! As part of our American Graduate initiative, we’re honoring American Graduate Champions that have been submitted by the community.

libby-luceraToday’s Champion is Libby Lucera! Libby is the French teacher and French club sponsor at Westlake High School. She teaches her students to love the language and culture, as well as how to be successful learners in her class and beyond.

Her nominator, Natalie Cannon, says, “She provides meaningful and valuable feedback on everything that her students do. It is so important that her students have immediate feedback that she spends many hours every night and weekend to make it happen. She also creates notes, guides, practice sheets and everything that she gives to them by herself. She is there to help them when they need it, and she does it with grace and enthusiasm.”

Do you know someone in our community who is working to improve high school success for students throughout Central Texas? Recognize them as an American Graduate Champion! American Graduate Champions can be students who work as mentors, business leaders who serve as role models, school officials making changes to better the system, parent activists, and even struggling students who are overcoming obstacles in order to graduate.