The University of Arizona

UA President Hart Part of National Discussion on Dropout Crisis

University Communications | September 25, 2013

UA President Ann Weaver Hart will introduce the local broadcast of "American Graduate Day," a national call to action to address the high school dropout crisis.

Featuring a dynamic mix of national long-form programming, live breaks and Arizona Public Media pre-taped segments, "American Graduate Day" will tell the story of community partners and how they provide support, advice and intervention services to students, families and schools.
Featuring a dynamic mix of national long-form programming, live breaks and Arizona Public Media pre-taped segments, "American Graduate Day" will tell the story of community partners and how they provide support, advice and intervention services to students, families and schools.
UA President Ann Weaver Hart
UA President Ann Weaver Hart

The seven-hour "American Graduate Day 2013" broadcast and outreach event to be held this weekend will feature more than 20 national community partners, and includes a locally produced introduction by University of Arizona President Ann Weaver Hart.

National celebrity hosts such as Juju Chang, Brian Williams, Susie Gharib, Rebecca Jarvis and other journalistic luminaries will serve as anchors throughout the Sept. 28 event, a nationwide "call to action" telethon based from WNET's Tisch Studios at Lincoln Center in New York City.

During the event, Hart will introduce the local broadcast, which will include 14 interview segments featuring Southern Arizona educators, education administrators and community partners. Locally produced interviews include those with Ronald Marx, dean of the UA College of Education; Marie Logan, chief executive officer of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Tucson; and John Huppenthal, Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction.

"American Graduate Day" is the centerpiece of "American Graduate: Let's Make It Happen," a national public media initiative that leverages the power and reach of public television to help communities across America address the high school dropout crisis and keep students on the path to graduation.

Nationally, one of five students will drop out of high school each year, the American Graduate Research Center reports. Annually, that amounts to nearly 1 million youth who do not graduate from high school.

Yet, for the first time, the nation is on track to meet the national goal of a 90 percent graduation rate by 2020, the center reported.

Other local education and community partner interviews during "American Graduate Day" include:

  • Mark C. Irvin, interim volunteer chief executive officer for the Boys and Girls Clubs of Tucson
  • Stephen Purkiss, a science teacher at PPEP Tec High School
  • Joline Riddle, a kindergarten teacher at Sewell Elementary
  • Hillary Rosenfeld of the Women’s Foundation of Southern Arizona
  • H.T. Sanchez, superintendent of the Tucson Unified School District
  • Betty Stauffer, executive director of Literacy Connects
  • UA student Claudia Torres
  • Manuel Valenzuela, superintendent of the Sahuarita Unified School District
  • Scott Whitlock, a science teacher and head of curriculum and instruction at Presidio Schools
  • Arnulfo Velasquez, a math teacher at Wakefield Middle School

For more information, visit the American Graduate Let's Make It Happen website.

Contacts

Sue DeBenedette

Arizona Public Media

520-621-5222

sdebenedette@azpm.org