American Graduate: A Conversation with Teachers Premieres Monday, June 18 at 9 p.m. on THIRTEEN

May 31, 2012, 12:48 ET from WNET

A Panel Discussion with Host Ray Suarez and New York City School Teachers From Five Boroughs Explores the Problems and Solutions to the American Dropout Crisis

Public Media to Tackle Dropout Crisis with New Programming and Public Engagement Initiatives

NEW YORK, May 31, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Every year, 1 million kids drop out of high school nationwide. According to a recent Civic Enterprises study, more than 1 in 4 students in New York state fails to graduate on time. If the state could achieve the national high school graduation rate goal of 90%, the additional graduates could deliver an estimated $368 million in increased annual earnings.

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One of the most important voices in the dropout crisis is that of the educators – those who are on the "front lines" every day. In order to amplify this crucial voice and start a robust, solutions-based conversation, THIRTEEN will premiere American Graduate: A Conversation with Teachers, an intimate conversation with New York City school teachers from all five boroughs, hosted by Ray Suarez of the PBS NewsHour, on Monday, June 18 at 9 p.m. ET (check local listings).  The program, taped at the Tisch WNET Studios at Lincoln Center, examines the most important issues affecting New York City educators and proposed solutions that could help alleviate the dropout crisis.   

American Graduate: A Conversation with Teachers is part of American Graduate: Let's Make It Happen, a national public media initiative made possible by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) to help New York City and other communities across America identify and implement solutions to the high school dropout crisis.

"Each year, one out of every four students makes the life altering decision to drop out of school resulting in severe consequences for their future and our country," said Patricia Harrison, president and CEO of CPB. "Through 'American Graduate: Let's Make It Happen,' America's public radio and television stations – locally owned and operated – are engaging local  non-profit partners, business leaders, parents and teachers to help young people stay on the path to a high school diploma."

THIRTEEN is one of nearly 70 public media and television stations around the country that are working directly with their communities to address the dropout crisis. THIRTEEN and "American Graduate" project partners have developed a blend of media across several platforms – TV, radio, online – and community engagement efforts designed to raise public awareness and offer solutions to increase New York City high school graduation rates.

"Education has always been at the center of public broadcasting," said Jon Rubin, Director, State, Local Educational Services for WNET New York. "That's why we are proud to be a part of this important national initiative and are honored to work with the local community to make sure New York City's students stay in school and graduate.  Society cannot afford to lose a generation of our young people to this serious crisis."

The panel was comprised of five teachers, representing each borough in New York City, who teach various levels of students with different needs including:

Bobson Wong, a math teacher at Bayside High School, in Queens, New York for grades 9-12;

Seth Guinals-Kupperman, a physics, engineering, astronomy and robotics teacher at the High School for Math, Science & Engineering in Manhattan;

Jeanne Raleigh, a social studies, math, writing and ELA teacher of grades 3, 4 and 5 at PS 19 The Curtis School in Staten Island;

Khalilah Brann, a history (American and World) and English teacher of grades 1 and 9-12 and GED students at Bushwick Community High School in Brooklyn; 

Amanda Moskowitz, a sixth grade self-contained math and science special educator at PS/MS 270, a public school in the Morris Heights section of the Bronx. 

American Graduate: A Conversation with Teachers is a production of THIRTEEN for WNET, the parent company of THIRTEEN and WLIW21, New York's public television stations and operator of NJTV. For nearly 50 years, WNET has been producing and broadcasting national and local documentaries and other programs for the New York community. Executive Producer is Mary Lockhart. Director is Bob Morris. Production Managers are Judy Moy and Sonoko Aoyagi Leopold. Writer is Mary Lockhart. For THIRTEEN: Executive-in-Charge is Stephen Segaller.  

American Graduate: A Conversation with Teachers is made possible by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting in partnership with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

About American Graduate
The public media initiative, American Graduate: Let's Make It Happen, is helping communities across America identify and implement solutions to address the high school dropout crisis. Made possible by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), the multi-year campaign is designed to raise awareness and dialogue through national and local multiplatform programming.  Targeting communities with highest dropout rates, the initiative also increases local engagement and action through collaborations and partnerships, and increases student engagement through teacher professional development and classroom curricula. Public radio and television stations – locally owned and operated – reach 99% of the country over the air, have built models for successful intervention in early learning, and have deep connections in the communities they serve. More than 600 partnerships have been formed locally through American Graduate and CPB is partnering with America's Promise Alliance and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.  Visit American Graduate on Facebook, Twitter or

About WNET
New York's WNET is America's flagship public media outlet, bringing quality arts, education and public affairs programming to over 5 million viewers each week. The parent company of public television stations THIRTEEN and WLIW21 and operator of NJTV, WNET produces and presents such acclaimed PBS series as Nature, Great Performances, American Masters, Need to Know, Charlie Rose and a range of documentaries, children's programs, and local news and cultural offerings available on air and online. Pioneers in educational programming, WNET has created such groundbreaking series as Get the Math, Oh Noah!  and Cyberchase and provides tools for educators that bring compelling content to life in the classroom and at home. WNET highlights the tri-state's unique culture and diverse communities through NYC-ARTS, Reel 13, NJ Today and the new online newsmagazine MetroFocus.

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 1,300 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.