CPT12 Awarded American Graduate Community Service Grant to Help Denver Improve Youth Outcomes

Colorado Public Television (CPT12) to Work with Community Partners to Reach Low Income Families and Young Men of Color, and Share Stories of Denver Leaders Who Are “American Graduate Champions

Denver, CO (September 8, 2014) — Colorado Public Television (CPT12, Channel 12, PBS) has been awarded a $200,000 American Graduate: Let’s Make It Happen community service grant from The Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) to help Colorado improve youth outcomes for all students from preschool through college and onto careers. The nation’s graduation rate is at 80%, yet significant “graduation gaps” still exist for students of different races, ethnicities, family incomes, and disabilities, as well as those with limited English proficiency. In Denver, graduation rates are Graduation rate: 58.8% (completer rate is 67%), with the biggest gaps existing within the American Indian, African American and Hispanic populations.

“We have a responsibility to our kids and grandkids to provide a high quality education – no matter what zip code they live in – that will prepare them for success in college and careers in the 21st-century economy,” Senator Michael Bennet said. “Strong community partners like Colorado Public Television complement the work our schools and teachers do to educate the next generation. It’s vital to our future economic stability that students stay in school and graduate.”

Kicking off as students in Denver, Colorado head back to school, CPT12 will work with Denver over the next two years to increase understanding about the challenges for at-risk youth and work with a network of community partners to help develop and illuminate long term solutions emphasizing the importance of a strong foundation in early education and the need for consistent caring adults. CPT12 is part of the national American Graduate initiative in partnership with 33 other public media stations around the country. Stations will highlight local leaders who are helping communities increase graduation rates and the everyday heroes in a child’s life who are committed to improving education outcomes as “American Graduate Champions.” The initiative will feature new locally produced content alongside national productions and classroom resources – including PBS NewsHour’s new education desk, American Graduate Day, 180 Days: Hartsville, and the youth-driven spoken word contest RAISE UP!, along with PBS Learning Media and PBS Kids assets.

“We are honored to continue our work with Colorado-based organizations that are making a positive impact on addressing our school dropout problem,” said Kim Johnson, President and General Manager of Colorado Public Television. “Our young people are intelligent, creative and resourceful and they deserve every opportunity to construct bright futures for themselves. Working with multiple community partners enables CPT12 to leverage different approaches to reaching students who have challenging life circumstances. Our American Graduate program is a priority project for us and I cannot think of a better use of our time and resources.”

In addition, CPT12 has received a $10,000 grant to Newman’s Own Foundation to increase philanthropic support to support the station’s local education service and sustain the American Graduate initiative.

“Education is at the core of public media’s mission. Through American Graduate stations’ partnerships with over 1000 local organizations, we are proud of public media’s content and on the ground engagement that has raised awareness to achieve 80% 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.”

Locally, CPT12 will work with our community partners to provide at-risk students with the opportunity to tell their story through a variety of workshops. Our goal is to provide our young storytellers with real, actionable skills and media development experiences that will serve to develop confidence, assist with education achievement and prepare them for higher education and job-readiness and develop content that educates the community on the dropout crisis and directs people to resources and organizations for direct help. Community partners include but are not limited to the following organizations: Colorado Youth for a Change, Zero Dropouts, the Center for Digital Storytelling and United Way.

“We are excited to continue our work with CPT12 in raising awareness of the dropout crisis and how we are working to solve it,” says Chris Telk, Executive Director of Colorado Youth for a Change. “The act of sharing one’s story, however expressed, can prove extremely valuable to personal growth and development. We are confident that this storytelling effort lead by CPT12 and in partnership with many of our colleagues in the community will provide an important element to youth success through education.”