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KLRU Invites AISD to Help Guide New American Graduate Project

District joins Austin’s PBS station, community partners to raise awareness of dropout rates and create sustainable solutions to boost high school readiness

AUSTIN, Texas–KLRU-TV, Austin PBS, has been awarded a $200,000 American Graduate community service grant from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. The grant’s purpose is to raise awareness in Central Texas about the true costs of our youth leaving school before graduation, as well as efforts conducted in our region to reduce dropout rates.

High school graduation rates are an important indicator of the community’s health, and high dropout rates have serious economic consequences. The E3 Alliance, one of KLRU’s partner organizations, has estimated that the cost of a single class year of dropouts in Central Texas is $435 million. “The time, energy, and resources we invest now to address this challenge will pay important dividends in the overall social and economic health of our community,” said Bill Stotesbery, CEO and general manager of KLRU.

In a celebration and launch of the grant, KLRU is participating in CPB’s “American Graduate Day” on Saturday, September 27, and will host an all-day programming special from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. that will include national and local panels, content, and discussion regarding education and graduation topics and issues.

KLRU is the only Texas recipient of this grant and one of 33 stations across the country participating in the national American Graduate initiative. KLRU will facilitate and bring together a coalition of community partners to communicate the full scope of the dropout crisis and increase awareness of its contributing factors in Central Texas through programming on KLRU, news stories and events designed to discuss this issues. The station is convening an advisory panel of community leaders to help guide this project which to date includes:

  • Amber Carden, senior vice president, Bank of America
  • Dr. Paul Cruz, interim superintendent for Austin Independent School District
  • Susan Dawson, president and executive director, E3 Alliance
  • Yesica Diaz, college and career counselor, Eastside Memorial High School, Austin Independent School District
  • Dr. Phillip Eaglin, founder and CEO of Changing Expectations, member of KLRU Community Advisory Board
  • Molly Beth Malcolm, Ed.D., special assistant to the president and CEO of the Austin Community College
  • Drew Scheberle, Austin Chamber of Commerce senior vice president Mary Yancy, KLRU Board of Directors and expert on social-emotional learning
  • Other organizations and school districts participating in the project include: Austin Voices for Education and Youth, Austin Council of PTAs, OutYouth, Austin ISD, Pflugerville ISD, Round Rock ISD, Manor ISD, KIPP:Austin.

This network of community partners will help illuminate, develop and coordinate long-term solutions, starting with the importance of a strong foundation in early education and spanning the entire PK-12 spectrum. KLRU will highlight local leaders who are helping in an effort to increase graduation rates and the everyday heroes who are committed to improving education outcomes for children as “American Graduate Champions.”

“Education is at the core of public media’s mission. Through American Graduate stations’ partnerships with over a thousand local organizations, we are proud of public media’s content and on-the-ground engagement that has raised awareness to achieve 80 percent graduation rates nationally and helped America see the potential in every student,” said Pat Harrison, CPB president and CEO. “By strengthening our focus on solutions, starting with our youngest learners, and highlighting local leaders who are creating sustainable change, together, we can set kids–and our country–on a path for long term success.”

For more information on the American Graduate, please visit For more information on KLRU, please visit You can also keep up with current American Graduate news by following the official hashtag #AmGradTX.

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About KLRU

KLRU-TV, Austin PBS is dedicated to telling stories that entertain, inspire and change our lives. KLRU highlights what makes Austin unique – whether music, arts or public issues – by creating and distributing award-winning original content. KLRU produces several series including Austin City Limits, Arts In Context, Central Texas Gardener, Civic Summit and Overheard with Evan Smith. As a nonprofit educational organization,

KLRU also prepares children to succeed in school and creates lifelong learning opportunities for all. Find out more at

About CPB

The Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), a private, nonprofit corporation created by Congress in 1967, is the steward of the federal government's investment in public broadcasting. It helps support the operations of more than 1,400 locally-owned and -operated public television and radio stations nationwide, and is the largest single source of funding for research, technology, and program development for public radio, television and related online services.

About American Graduate

American Graduate: Let's Make it Happen was launched in 2011 with 25 public media stations in high need communities to spotlight the high school dropout crisis and focus on middle and high school student interventions. Today, more than 80 public radio and television stations in over 30 states have partnered with over 1000 community organizations and schools, as well as Alma and Colin Powell's America's Promise Alliance, Everyone Graduates Center at Johns Hopkins University School of Education, Alliance for Excellent Education, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Newman’s Own Foundation to help the nation achieve a 90% graduation by 2020.

With primetime and children’s programming that educates, informs, and inspires public radio and television stations — locally owned and operated — are important resources in helping to address critical issues facing today’s communities. According to a report from the Everyone Graduates Center at Johns Hopkins University School of Education, American Graduate stations have told the story about the dropout crisis in a way that empowered citizens to get involved, and helped community organizations break down silos to work more effectively together.

In early 2014, CPB and PBS KIDS committed an additional $20 million for the “American Graduate PBS KIDS Fund” to also help communities connect the importance of early learning as part of a student’s long term success. In addition to station grants for local engagement, the Fund will support the creation of children’s content and tools to help parents, particularly those from low income communities, better prepare their young children for long term success. Fourteen American Graduate station grantees have also been awarded CPB early education grants to reach children ages 2-8 with programming and services developed through the Ready to Learn Initiative, a project funded by the U.S. Department of Education.