Posts written by Eric Aasen

Corporation For Public Broadcasting Highlights KERA’s Class Of ’17 Project

shutterstock_185038514The Corporation for Public Broadcasting features KERA’s Class of ’17 project in this month’s Station Spotlight. Class of ’17 is a five-year effort that follows North Texas students as they transition from middle school to high school and through graduation.

CPB reports:

Public media and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) are actively working to help end the high school dropout crisis. In 2012, CPB created the American Graduate: Let’s Make it Happen initiative to combat the high school dropout crisis and raise the U.S. graduation rate to 90 percent by 2020.

KERA serving Dallas and Forth Worth, Texas has a long history of education-related programming. On the air for more than 40 years, the station began with a limited schedule of programs for teachers and students. In 2013, CPB awarded KERA a Strengthening Education Reporting grant, totaling almost $130,000. The station used the grant to create Class of ’17, a five-year KERA News project that follows a diverse group of North Texas students through the crucial transition from 8th grade to high school and then on until their graduation.

“Graduation rates have been a longstanding problem that has vexed parents, teachers and administrators in North Texas for decades,” said Rick Holter, KERA Vice President of News. “We assembled a group of 100 ‘Education Partners’ from across our region, held a series of town hall meetings, and heard again and again how crucial the transition from middle school to high school was for future graduation rates. Our research backed that up.”

Class of ’17 uses radio, web, social media, and community outreach components that deal with dropping out of high school. In addition to reporting on the dropout crisis, the program shares the latest education news, research and techniques. Students’ personal stories of making the basketball team, switching schools, getting a learner’s permit, and dealing with depression allows KERA to put a face on education and the obstacles students face on their way to graduation.

Read more about the effort.

KIPP Dallas-Fort Worth Charter School Network Announces $2 Million Grant

KIPP Dallas-Fort Worth started educating students in 2003. (KIPP/Facebook)

KIPP Dallas-Fort Worth started educating students in 2003. (KIPP/Facebook)

KIPP Dallas-Fort Worth has announced it has received a $2 million grant to expand its charter school network.

The three-year grant from the Jenesis Group is the single largest award in KIPP DFW’s 10-year history, the group says.

The grant includes $1 million in unrestricted capital, as well as $1 million in a matching challenge to incentivize prospective donors.

Jenesis is a family foundation based in Texas that aims to “improve the quality of life for our nation’s young people.”

KIPP DFW was established in 2003. Its flagship middle school, KIPP Truth Academy, serves over 375 students. In 2013, KIPP DFW opened its first elementary school, KIPP Destiny.

KIPP DFW says it will use the funds to grow to 10 schools by 2021 – including four elementary, four middle and two high schools.

In October, KERA’s Bill Zeeble reported on tennis star Andre Agassi’s visit to KIPP Destiny.