American Graduate: Alternatives and opportunities starting in Pre-K

During PBS NewsHour this weekend, our stories are both part of KLRU’s American Graduate initiative, which is aimed at increasing awareness around the dropout crisis in Central Texas.

On Saturday, we spoke with Austin Mayor Pro Tem Sheryl Cole and AISD’s Director of Early Childhood Jacquie Porter about free all day Pre-K for qualified families. The two entities are teaming up to enroll more qualified four year olds in prekindergarten. Pre-K is free for children who have limited-English proficiency, are economically disadvantaged, those whose parents are active military or were killed in action, for children who are homeless, or who have ever been in CPS care.

“Pre-k benefits kids in a number of ways. We think academically, but pre-k also benefits children socially, getting along, taking turns. And it’s the best time for learning, so we want to make sure we capitalize on that and make sure kids are where they’re supposed to be when they start kindergarten,” Porter says.

For our Sunday story we traveled to Bastrop to hear about Colorado River Collegiate Academy – the district’s early college high school. The school opened this year and offers students the opportunity to earn their associates degree from Austin Community College before they graduate high school. The degree is free for families. The district is targeting students who are low-income or who will be the first in their family to attend college.

You can see an extended version that story in the video above.

Both stories will air locally as a KLRU News Briefs during PBS NewsHour Weekend at 6:30pm. Do you have an American Graduate story idea? We’d love to hear from you. Email us at, post a comment, or tweet at us using #amgradtx. 


Q Night at the Movies December 13

KLRU Q - Night at the Movies

It’s a night of murder and mystery on KLRU Q’s Night at the Movies. At 8 pm in Murder on the Home Front, when young women are found murdered amid the chaos of the London Blitz of World War II, brilliant Home Office Pathologist Dr. Lennox Collins (Patrick Kennedy), on his first murder case, and his newly recruited assistant Molly Cooper (Tamzin Merchant) clash with the police over just who the main suspect is. Employing groundbreaking forensic techniques, can Lennox and Molly save a seemingly innocent man from the gallows and prove there may be more to these murders than meets the eye?

But, that’s not all. Join KLRU before the movie at 7 pm for Arts In Context and On Story.

On Arts In Context: Once a taboo practice largely confined to sailors and street hoodlums, tattooing has evolved into a highly prized fashion product for millions of consumers. America’s core cultural reference books, professional journals, newspapers and magazines recognize tattooing as a well-established art form that, over the last three decades, has undergone dramatic changes.

And on On Story: Vince Gilligan, creator of the AMC hit series Breaking Bad, reflects upon the show’s hyper-serialized storytelling, along with his inspirations and influences. Accompanied by Victor Nores’ short film, Euthanas Inc., about an old lady whose family wishes to no longer be burdened by her presence, and her plans to grant them an unexpected change of scene.

KLRU Q is broadcast channel 18.3. It is also available to digital cable subscribers of Grande on 284 and Time Warner on 20.

Science Night December 17

Science Night on KLRU begins at 7 pm Wednesday evening. Here’s a quick look at the exciting programs set for Wednesday:

Elsa’s Legacy: The Born Free Story

“Born Free” – a book and then a film that changed forever the way we think about wildlife, marked its 50th anniversary of the publication in 2010. What has happened to lions since this story? And what has happened to the people featured in the film? What has “Born Free” taught us?


NOVA | Making Stuff Wilder at 8 pm

David Pogue explores bold innovations inspired by the Earth’s greatest inventor, life itself. From underwater wi-fi based on dolphin communication, to robotic “mules” and “cheetahs” for the military, to swarms of robotic bees, Pogue travels the world seeing the “wildest” ideas put into action in new inventions and technologies. It is a journey that sees today’s bacteria turned into tomorrow’s metallurgists, viruses building batteries, and even DNA, the Code of Life, put to work in “living” computers. Will the stuff of the future take on a life of its own?


NOVA | Making Stuff Colder at 9 pm

For centuries we’ve fought it, shunned it and huddled against it. Cold has always been the enemy of life, but now it may hold the key to a new generation of science and technology that will improve our lives. David Pogue explores the frontiers of cold science, from saving the lives of severe trauma patients and cooling a warming planet to ultracold physics, where bizarre new properties of matter are the norm and the basis of new technologies like levitating trains and quantum computers. In this brave new world, cold isn’t to be avoided. Cold is the new hot.

Highlights December 14-20

KLRU Highlights

Enjoy and entire evening watching Masterpiece’s Downton Abbey on KLRU. Episodes 3, 4 and 5 begin airing at 7 pm on Sunday.

Two hours of the Antiques Roadshow begins at 7 pm on Monday.

We’ll show you what that means for one dedicated group of students, rehearsing and performing in some of George Balanchine most celebrated works on Curtain Up: The School of American Ballet Workshop Monday at 9 pm.

Sacred Journeys with Bruce Feiler Tuesday at 7 pm goes with a group of active duty and retired U.S. military, wounded in Afghanistan, Iraq and other American wars, as they travel to the Catholic shrine of Lourdes in southwest France in search of healing.

In a second hour of Sacred Journeys with Bruce Feiler Tuesday at 8 pm, Feiler circles the island of Shikokyu in Japan, following a pilgrim trail that’s taken by hundreds of thousands of Japanese and international pilgrims every year, a Buddhist pilgrimage that welcomes pilgrims of all faiths.

National Christmas Tree Lighting 2014 Tuesday at 9 pm promises to include appearances and performances by some of the most recognizable names in entertainment. The evening’s festivities will be capped off with the ceremonial lighting of the National Christmas Tree, which is traditionally handled by the President and First Family.

In celebration of the release of his 2013 album, Musical Gifts, world-renowned violinist Joshua Bell welcomed cameras into his elegant Manhattan residence for a rare and intimate concert on Joshua Bell Presents Musical Gifts Tuesday at 10 pm.

“Born Free” – a book and then a film that changed forever the way we think about wildlife, marked its 50th anniversary of the publication in 2010. Elsa’s Legacy: The Born Free Story Wednesday at 7 pm revisits the story.

In a mini-series, Nova Wednesday at 8 pm and 9 pm, New York Times’ technology correspondent and best-selling author David Pogue takes a wild ride through the cutting-edge science that is powering a next wave of technological innovation.

Famed Mexican guitar duo Rodrigo y Gabriela performs a unique fusion of flamenco, jazz and rock on Austin City Limits Wednesday and Friday at 10 pm.

Martin Amis, a celebrated and prolific author whose credits include London Fields, The Rachel Papers, Time’s Arrow and The Information, joins Evan Smith on Overheard Thursday at 7 pm.

Blue Lapis Light transforms urban environments into works of art on Arts and Context Thursday at 7:30 pm.

Downton Abbey Rediscovered Thursday at 8 pm will combine clips, interview bites, and behind-the scenes footage.

Chet on Daytripper Thursday at 8:30 pm heads to Grapevine, the “Christmas Capital of Texas” to catch the spirit of the season.

On Great Performances Thursday at 9 pm, legendary violinist Itzhak Perlman and celebrated cantor Yitzchak Meir Helfgot join forces for a musical exploration of liturgical and traditional works in new arrangements for both chamber orchestra and klezmer settings.

Catch-up on this week’s news with Washington Week with Gwen Ifill Friday at 7 pm and Moyers and Company at 7:30 pm.

On Christmas with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir Friday at 8 pm, Soprano Deborah Voigt and acclaimed British actor John Rhys-Davies join the choir and orchestra at Temple Square for a Christmas concert of holiday favorites.

Christmas in Norway with the St. Olaf Choir Friday at 9 pm was filmed in Trondheim, Norway’s magnificent Nidaros Dom cathedral, one of the oldest Gothic cathedrals in the world.

Mingle herbs for food, wildlife flowers and what ails you into your waterwise scheme on Central Texas Gardener at noon Saturday. Visit a gardener who removed grass for a menu that serves up art, food, and wildlife invites.

Prepare yourself for a Downton Abbey marathon! Episodes 1-4 of the fourth season with be airing Saturday at 7 pm to midnight.

Aaron Higdon, Dahlstrom MS Teacher, wins Get Your Tech On Sweepstakes

KLRU Educational Services congratulates Aaron Higdon, the Gateway to Technology teacher at Dahlstrom Middle School in Buda. Aaron recently received a Samsung Galaxy tablet and a PBS LearningMedia Custom account. Here, he gives us some background and how he incorporates technology:

This is my 11th year as a teacher, two years in Houston ISD and nine in Hays CISD.  I taught middle school science, then math, now STEM.  This is my 4th year teaching STEM.

My students use Google apps all the time.  Each student has a gmail account that is managed through the district.  they use Google drive (and all the apps with that).  They’ve created Google sites to make engineering portfolios.  And, we’re now using Google Classroom to manage assignments and feedback.  We occasionally use other apps like Kahoot! on student devices.

Like Julie Hildebrand, our 2014 PBS LearningMedia Digital Innovator, we salute Aaron and his work, and we encourage all educators to submit an application now to be a 2015 PBS LearningMedia Digital Innovator.


Arts In Context Shorts Lost: Flamenco Sephardit

AIC Lost: Flamenco SepharditCombining the rich traditions of Ladino music with the rhythms of Flamenco, Flamenco Sephardit brings together Judaeo-Spanish culture and Spanish folk music in a musical experience that captivates and entrances audiences. Produced by Maestro Jeffrey Eckstein, musicians from varying disciplines collaborate to fuse Ladino pieces with Flamenco music in a bold display of skill, grace, and passion. The language of Ladino has changed considerably since its exodus from Spain during the Spanish Inquisition, changing and evolving over centuries as Sephardic Jews who fled the country spoke it in secret. With opera singers, guitarists, and string instruments, Maestro Eckstein marries the music of Ladino with Flamenco in a showcase of rich Spanish cultures and harmonies. Drawing audiences with its intensity, Flamenco Sephardit puts a dramatic twist on an art form so historical that some consider it to be lost.

Q Night at the Movies December 6

KLRU Q - Night at the Movies

Join KLRU Q every Saturday evening at 7 pm for a night at the movies!

The evening begins with Arts In Context | Let Me Tell You About the Octopus Project. The Octopus Project expresses the meaning of “multi” media by creating lively art through music, film and technology. The band has been releasing joyous party music since 2002, all the while touring the world both on their own and as handpicked support for artists as diverse as Aesop Rock, DEVO, and Explosions in the Sky.

Then on On Story at 7:30 pm, Brian Helgeland, the creative force behind 42, LA Confidential, Mystic River, and A Knight’s Tale, shares his experience as a screenwriter, director and producer, along with the ups, downs and left turns of the filmmaking industry. Accompanied by the short film Hector Is Gonna Kill Nate, from Ari Issler about a basketball student that rolls into his High School gym looking for revenge.

Finally, your movie of the evening beginning at 8 pm: Van Gogh: Painted With Words. Benedict Cumberbatch portrays Vincent Van Gogh to perfection in this powerful and critically acclaimed docudrama, with every single word of dialogue sourced from his original correspondence. e artist yet Based on years of painstaking research and faithful to his writings down to every last detail, this is Vincent Van Gogh’s story, in his own words. For 18 years from 1872, Van Gogh chronicled his eventful life through some 900 letters to his younger brother Theo. It is a remarkable collection which, even if none of his paintings had survived, would have been enough to mark him out as an extraordinary figure in the art world. Now, this film weaves together the painter’s recorded experiences into a compelling story, with each word spoken by the actors faithful to these original sources. What emerges is a complex portrait of a sophisticated, civilized and yet tormented man.

KLRU Q is broadcast channel 18.3. It is also available to digital cable subscribers of Grande on 284 and Time Warner on 20.

Highlights December 7-13

KLRU Highlights

This season of Downton Abbey finds aristocrats coping with last season’s shocking finale. Watch episodes one and two Sunday starting at 7 pm.

Newly-assembled Rock Rewind 1965-1967 (my Music) Sunday at 10 pm and Thursday at 7 pm has archival performances of hits that still resonate nearly half a century later.

We all have financial issues and problems. Suze Orman’s latest special, Suze Orman’s Financial Solutions for You Saturday at 8, sharply focuses on her helping individual viewers “find financial solutions for you.”

Celebrate the joys of the holiday season with Celtic Woman: Home For Christmas Tuesday at 7 pm by sharing a new tradition with your family and friends.

The essence of the city during the most wonderful time of year is captured in a series of intimate and unique musical performances on Christmas in New York Tuesday at 8 pm.

The Bee Gees: One Night Only Tuesday at 9:30 pm, Friday at 10 pm and Saturday at 7 pm features the group’s 1997 concert at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.

Dr. Fuhrman’s End Dieting Forever Wednesday at 7 pm lecture about a lifestyle where you seek foods, recipes and menus that are nutrient rich, so that your body is supplied with its nutritional needs for optimum health, disease prevention, and maximum lifespan.

BrainChange with David Perlmutter, MD Wednesday at 8 pm reveals the devastating truth about the effects of wheat, sugar, and carbohydrates on the human brain, with a 30-day plan to achieve optimum health.

Victor Borges’s Timeless Comedy! Wednesday at 10:30 pm features the legendary Victor Borge and featuring his funniest and most memorable skits – a truly timeless collection viewers will not want to miss!

After returning to Styles with Hastings, Agatha Christie’s Poirot Thursday at 8:30 pm confronts a killer and his own conscience as he tries to stop a series of murders.

Downton Abbey Rediscovered Thursday at 10:30 pm will combine clips, interview bites, and behind-the scenes footage.

Don’t miss the weekly Washington Week with Gwen Ifill and Moyers and Company beginning Friday at 7 pm.

Barbra Streisand makes a historic homecoming Back to Brooklyn airing Friday at 8 pm at the new Barclays Center arena, marking the superstar’s first Brooklyn concert since her childhood years.

Being Poirot Saturday at 8:30 is a fitting tribute to the end of an era in public television, and to a character millions have come to love yet know remarkably little about.