American Graduate

American Graduate


As a part of the American Graduate program, Kavitha Cardoza, WAMU 88.5 education reporter, writes a series of articles examining the dropout crisis in D.C. Cardoza interviews teachers, parents, researchers, and dropouts as she looks at the causes and consequences of the dropout problem, which affects approximately 1 million students each year and has been called "the civil rights issue of our time."

The DC Teacher Town Hall on June 5, 2012 was a conversations with D.C. teachers about education today and the realities faced by educators hosted by WAMU's Matt McCleskey at the WHUT Television studios on the Howard University campus.
WAMU 88.5 education reporter Kavitha Cardoza and Ginger Moored talk about the research and reporting process behind the American Graduate series. They also share surprising and memorable moments, and some of the feedback they've received on their stories.
Stephen Liggon is an attendance counselor at Luke C. Moore High School in Northeast D.C. When students reach 10 unexcused absences from school, Stephen hits the street to track them down in person. WAMU 88.5's Kavitha Cardoza went along on one of his trips.

Fighting The Odds: Inside D.C.'s Dropout Crisis
One of the District's most troubled schools looks for ways to boost students' chances


Fewer than 60 percent of children in the nation's capital graduate from high school on time. In a special one-hour documentary, WAMU 88.5 News follows one of the lowest-performing schools in the District as it struggles to improve. We'll explore the city's dropout crisis through the eyes of students, teachers, school administrators, and parents.
PHOTOS: Diplomas Now At Browne Education Campus

The Impacts Of The High School Dropout Crisis

The economic prospects of the District could be greatly increased if more of its students graduated from high school, studies show. To help address the dropout problem, several schools in the city are working to give dropouts a second – and maybe their last – chance at graduation.

Bridging The Gap Between Home And School

We look to schools to ensure that students graduate high school, even though kids spend about three-quarters of their time outside of school. For many at-risk students, the extra attention paid to what's going on at home may be what gets them over the hump to graduation.

Scaling Up Solutions To The Dropout Problem

Many programs to help lower dropout rates have proven effective on their first go-around; the problem, according researchers, is expanding those programs to a multitude of schools. With Diplomas Now, a team of educators, volunteers, and social workers are hoping to scale up one of these concepts, and three D.C. public schools are some of the test cases.

In Experimental School, Tight-Knit Community Helps Students Succeed

High school graduation rates are notoriously poor in urban areas of high poverty. But the Baltimore Talent Development High School in Baltimore City has had remarkable results shepherding students to graduation thanks to principles that value individual attention, specialized curricula, and providing each student with at least one adult who truly cares about their success.

Battling Homelessness, Crime On The Path To Graduation

The risk factors for dropping out -- poverty, homelessness, juvenile offenses -- run rampant in the District of Columbia. Yet there are students every year who rise above these challenging circumstances to succeed. Christopher Feaster and Travaris Chambers are two of those on track to graduate this May despite having traveled rough roads.

Graduation Rates Increase Around The Globe As U.S. Plateaus

The United States used to top the list of countries' high school graduation rates, but that ranking has shifted significantly in recent years. More than 20 countries are now beating the U.S. on graduations, as developed and developing countries alike bolster their graduation rates. But what does that mean for American competitiveness and the U.S. education system going forward?

Why Kids Drop Out: Identifying The Early Warning Signs

Students drop out of school for a complex combination of reasons, making it difficult for teachers to identify any one cause. What educators have been able to narrow down are the most frequent early indicators that a student might someday drop out of school, and they apply these daily to try to combat the dropout crisis.

How Many Students Really Graduate From High School?

Calculating graduation and dropout rates for high schools is complicated, and until now there has been no consensus on how to do so. Under new federal guidelines, schools in all states must use the same method – and the shift is bringing out statistics that, in some cases, present the first real comparison of the dropout crisis nationwide.

Breaking The Cycle When Dropping Out Runs In The Family

Grace McMillan, left, and her mother, Saundra Walker, both struggled in school, and then dropped out when they became pregnant. Now, decades later, they're attending classes together to try to get their GED diplomas.