Texas has ranked high in recent years for its low dropout rate, but there are still some students who don’t make it to the graduation ceremony. The Texas Education Authority reports that roughly six students out of a hundred don’t graduate. But what causes a student to drop out? In early December, students, educators, and community members joined together in Studio 6A to discuss that for a special Civic Summit taping titled Stop the Drop: Engaging Students in Their Futures.
The hour-long special delved into different aspects of the dropout crisis, including what makes students lose interest in school, what barriers prevent students from re-enrolling, and what adults can do to help motivate students to stay in school. Host Judy Maggio discussed solutions with experts and educators in the studio, and student host Ronald Elliot talked with student audience members about difficulties that kept them from engaging in school, and what adults did that either dissuaded or motivated them to pursue an education.
This Civic Summit was part of KLRU’s American Graduate initiative. As an American Graduate station, KLRU is seeking a clearer understanding of the nature and impact of the dropout problem in our region, and is partnering with organizations working to increase graduation rates. You can find more information about the initiative by visiting: klru.org/americangraduate.
Today President Obama signed into law the Every Student Succeeds Act, the first major national education overhaul since the passage of the No Child Left Behind Act in 2001. KLRU’s Educational Services work is impacted in two specific ways by the passage of this law.
First, the ESSA Act includes funding for Ready to Learn, the PBS Kids endeavor which leads to the production of high-quality educational shows, apps, online games, and additional resources, and which includes funds for KLRU and 10 other stations nationwide to pilot implementation and distribution of these assets.
Second, one of the new features of the ESSA is that high schools must use graduation rates as one of several measures of progress. KLRU is a participant in the Corporation for Public Broadcasting’s American Graduate initiative, and as such, we have been working over the last two years to assemble a body of knowledge and resources about how to enable more students to stay in school and graduate, especially in those schools and among demographic groups with chronically high dropout rates.
In fact, tonight at 5:30 pm, KLRU is taping a student town hall, in which we have gathered well over 100 middle and high school youth for a televised forum on their perspectives on key issues – what challenges do they face on the road toward high school graduation, what resources have they found meaningful, and where do we adults continue to miss opportunities to support them in their journeys? You can RSVP for this event here. Plan to watch Stop The Drop: Engaging Students In Their Futures on December 17 at 9pm.
In Spring 2015, KLRU-TV, Austin PBS worked with Campbell Elementary of Austin ISD, the Austin ISD Sustainability Program and Keep Austin Beautiful to create a “Green” school carnival. Funds to support these efforts came from a PBS Kids Explore the Outdoors grant. Using remaining funds from the grant, we would like to help three schools interested in putting on their own “green” carnival this fall with three $500 grant opportunities. Watch the video for a glimpse of what Campbell did, then think about what you can do to “green up” your carnival. Proposals will be accepted on a rolling basis.
Whether you receive a grant or not, consider contacting Keep Austin Beautiful for free resources and activities.
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.
Central Texas educators continue to garner national attention from PBS LearningMedia!
Natalie Cannon is the latest educator to be named a PBS LearningMedia Digital Innovator. Natalie teaches various levels of Latin at Westlake HS in Eanes ISD, and co-sponsors The WHS Latin Club. Natalie began teaching middle school at St. Gabriel’s Catholic School before moving to Westlake High School, where she has now taught for six years. Her favorite part of her job is finding productive uses for modern technology in order to enliven an ancient language for her students.
Over the next year, Natalie will take part in a professional development program that will prepare her to extend her influence as a digital learning ambassador in her school and community.
PBS LearningMedia is PBS’ digital archive of 100,000+ educational assets made available to educators and the US public – for free! In Central Texas, over 7,000 educators have to date created LearningMedia accounts for use in their classrooms and for their own interests. Teachers can build and archive lessons incorporating digital media, and a new student feature allows their students to create and display storyboards to demonstrate their knowledge.
Check out Central Texas’ prior LearningMedia Digital Innovator, Julie Hildebrand, here
Ms. Carswell, Librarian at S.C. Lee Junior High School in Copperas Cove, is the second local winner of a Samsung Galaxy Tablet and a one-year subscription to the Premium level of PBS LearningMedia. A 25-year veteran educator, Ms. Carswell started her career with an abiding love of reading, which she found morphing into an interest in technology and its potential for young learners.
Copperas Cove ISD has a “bring your own device” policy for its students. With that in mind, Ms. Carswell looks forward to furthering her proficiency on her Galaxy Tablet as she helps students find and use quality digital resources – like PBS LearningMedia.
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.
Maya and Miguel were special guests at Foundation Communities Trails at the Park site on Tuesday, November 25th.
Children enrolled in the after school program had a great afternoon celebrating Thanksgiving with a wonderful meal and outside games culminating with the arrival of Maya and Miguel from the PBS series, MAYA AND MIGUEL, to introduce the new series ODD SQUAD. A live-action television series, the show is designed to build curiosity and interest in math among early elementary school viewers. All the children loved the new series and left singing “Take Away Four” as they collected Odd Squad and Peg+Cat bookmarks, the KLRU Kids schedule and a flyer on the holiday specials.