Feature Feature

The American Graduate Initiative

Communities across the nation, including the Quad Cities region, are working together to improve 21st century learning and increase high school graduation rates to prepare more students for college and successful careers. Public media stations across the country are at the center of this community-based work providing quality content, forums, and classroom resources to build local capacity for long term success.

Get Involved... You can Help Students in Our Region

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Become a champion for students. WQPT encourages you to become a mentor today. WQPT has partnered with Achieve Quad Cities to increase the number of adult mentors. Two school-based sites are expanding, and we need your help.

Coordinated by Big Brothers Big Sisters, volunteers mentor at-risk students and encourage them to explore career opportunities and achieve academic and social success.

American Graduate: Let's Make it Happen is a long term public media commitment, supported by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), to help communities implement solutions to the high school dropout crisis. Public media plays a significant role building individual activity, community capacity, and national awareness. The dropout crisis demands attention now, and we are rising to the challenge of doing our part to address this problem. WQPT is a part of this important nationwide initiative.

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In 2012, WQPT along with regional partners brought awareness to the the region with a variety of programming and unique community-minded events. In 2013, WQPT and regional partners aired American Graduate Day, a seven-hour televised event, with local segments to provide viewers a comprehensive perspective of the challenges faced for high school students in eastern Iowa and western Illinois.



Grad Nation Community Guidebook

The Grad Nation Community Guidebook is a research-based toolkit for communities working to raise graduation rates and better support children and youth from birth through college. Created in collaboration with Civic Enterprises and the Everyone Graduates Center at Johns Hopkins University's School of Education, the Community Guidebook offers approaches and tools that all communities—regardless of their size, location and challenges—can incorporate at any stage in their work.

Grad NationThe Community Guidebook compiles current research and outlines proven solutions and best practices including school and community interventions, for raising graduation rates. It provides a comprehensive framework to help communities design local dropout prevention efforts.  It contains 16 tools to help communities determine their actual graduation rate and dropout profile, establish an early warning system and attendance tracker, analyze student and school performance and conduct an assessment of individual and organizational assets and the current policy landscape.


Attendance Works Count Us In Toolkit: Working together to show that every school day matters

Policy Brief: The Attendance Imperative: How states can advance achievement by reducing chronic absence

Feeder Pattern Guide from United Way (PDF): United Way Worldwide, Civic Enterprises, and Everyone Graduates Center at Johns Hopkins University have developed a guide to help you and your community partners identify school feeder patterns – and help your community begin the critical discussion on using that data to boost graduation rates.

America's Promise Alliance: Identifying Gaps and Opportunities in Financial Aid Services: Insights from a survey of America's Promise Alliance partners

PBS LearningMedia Survey Finds Teachers are Embracing Digital Resources to Propel Student Learning: A national survey of pre-K-12 teachers that provides a current snapshot of how teachers are utilizing technology in America's classrooms, the types of technology teachers have access to and their attitudes toward technology.

Additional resources may be found at American Graduate: About the Dropout Crisis

America Graduate's Impact in Communities

A new report from the Everyone Graduates Center at the Johns Hopkins University School of Education finds that the American Graduate initiative has succeeded in building community capacity to meet the national priority of ending America's high school dropout crisis.

Public media has achieved this success by raising awareness and building knowledge of the issue, highlighting proven solutions, ensuring a sustained multi-sector response and fostering collective community action toward common goals—key strategies identified in the Civic Marshall Plan for a Grad Nation as essential for progress.
Download the executive summary. Download the full report.


Regional Discussion

Achieve Quad Cities: Tackling the Drop Out Crisis where community leaders and educators discuss why the high school drop out rate is high and what steps can be taken to help kids stay in school. Hosted by Leigh Geramani. Watch online:

This one hour discussion raised many issues as well as possible solutions to combat school drop out. The public was invited to attend and participate in the Achieve Quad Cities Community Conversation was held in January.

Panel Guests joining Leigh Geramanis included: Dr. Kim Armstrong, Dean, Black Hawk College; Tara Barney, Chief Executive Officer, Quad Cities Chamber of Commerce; Chris Lopez, Dean of Students, Moline High School; Dr. Matt Mendenhall, Vice President of Programs, Community Foundation of the Great River Bend; Laurie Phelan, President & CEO, iJAG (Iowa Jobs for America's Graduates); Ethel Reynolds, Executive Director School Support and Instructional Leadership, Davenport Community Schools; and John Riches, Community Relations Manager, ALCOA.


Regional Resources

Achieve Quad Cities


Big Brothers Big Sisters
of the Mississippi Valley


Boys and Girls Clubs


Boy Scouts of American,
Illowa Council Explorer's Post


Community Foundation
of the Great River Bend

iJag (Iowa Jobs for America's Graduates)

Junior Achievement of the Heartland

United Way of the Quad Cities Area




National Focus on
Drop Out Rates

Every year, more than 1.3-million students drop out of high school… that's seven thousand kids a day who effectively close the door on the type of future we would wish for them. The students face reduced opportunity, low wages, and increased risk of incarceration.

That's just the tip of the iceberg in terms of the costs of dropping out for the students—and for our society as a whole.

Ask any student whether he or she expects to graduate from high school, and the vast majority, 92%, say yes. For many students, however, the reality is much different.

Only seven in ten will actually finish high school, and for Hispanic, African-American and Native American students, that statistic drops to six in ten. This is an American tragedy, but a tragedy we can correct.



Stop Bullying

Bullying is one of the top factors in a students decision to drop out of school. The initiative was designed to help the community rally around this important issue and encourage the sharing of resources and best practices.

Led by WQPT Quad Cites PBS, Connecting Anti-Bullying Resources and Education (CARE QC) is a community collaboration of area non-profits addressing bullying in our communities.

A variety of resources to prevent bullying area available online.

Project Support

We recognize the community support
of the following organizations.

WQPT Regional Partners
Achieve Quad Cities

Community Foundation
of the Great River Bend

United Way of the Quad Cities Area

WVIK (Augustana Public Radio)

You Can Make a Difference
Support for WQPT's continued involvement
helping our region to increase the graduation rate will be made possible by donors, corporate and foundation gifts and from donations from viewers like you.