American Graduate: Let's Make it Happen is public media's long-term commitment to supporting community-based solutions to the dropout crisis. Supported by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), more than 80 public radio and television stations have joined forces with over 1,000 partners and at-risk schools across 30 states.

Through the American Graduate initiative, WHYY is expanding its education coverage on air and on, helping to shed light on a complicated and often confusing education landscape. WHYY's media instructors are working directly with students in WHYY Flash Media Labs at five city schools, where Students are learning to develop their voices and share their stories as they create original documentaries.

To learn more about American Graduate in the Philadelphia Community and how you can get involved, please contact or follow us on Facebook.

Recognize an American Graduate Champion! »


Dr. William Hite

Superintendent of the School District of Philadelphia, Dr. William Hite, explains why it is critical to create different models of learning and access for high school students. As a tribute to his work guiding a large urban district through difficult challenges, WHYY has named him an American Graduate Champion.

Atnre Alleyne and Tatiana Poladko

Program Co-founders Atnre Alleyne and Tatiana Poladko introduce TeenSHARP and how they support high achieving students of color by increasing the number of minority students in selective, four-year colleges. As a tribute to their work, WHYY has named Atnre and Tatiana American Graduate Champions.

Delaware Governor Jack Markel

Improving early childhood education has been a priority for Delaware Governor Jack Markel’s eight years in office. Under his leadership, the percentage of low-income children receiving subsidized care who are in highly-rated centers has gone from 5 percent to 70 percent. As a tribute to his success, WHYY has named him an American Graduate Champion.

See all American Graduate Champions »

The Drop-out Crisis in Our Community

With a 2013 on-time public school graduation rate of 64% and on-time charter school graduation rate of 76%, Philadelphia has a lot work to do to meet the Building a Grad nation graduation rate goal of 90% by 2020. While slow and steady progress has been made toward increasing this on-time graduation rate in Philadelphia schools over the past decade with a 20% increase over the past ten years, the system still faces a big gap toward the goal particularly in 9th grade where students who had been getting by start to fail and stop attending regularly. Attendance is a big challenge in Philadelphia schools where, according to recent Pennsylvania Department of attendance rates, more than 11.5 students were absent daily from District schools in the 2011/12 school year.

Through the American Graduate initiative, WHYY is partnering with the School District of Philadelphia and their school communities to pilot test a high-quality program model that combines academic and technical skills – WHYY's Flash Media Lab – in five Philadelphia high schools that both trains and engages students and teachers in hands-on multi-media production.

Featured videos

Jim Schroder, American Graduate Champion

Shane Vereen, American Graduate Champion

Melissa A. Rowe: Capture Greatness

Featured Education Headlines from

Philly nonprofit helps restore, restaff shuttered school libraries

Reading is fundamental. And studies show that by fourth grade, children who can't read at their grade level are at greater risk of dropping out of high school. That's why the nonprofit West Philadelphia Alliance for Children, known as WePAC, is helping to reopen shuttered elementary school libraries. Read more »

Should Pa. require students to pass standardized tests to graduate high school?

The clock is ticking. By 2017, in order to graduate high school in Pennsylvania, students must pass three state standardized tests: algebra, literature and biology. Based on most recent student scores — especially in biology — if trends continue, Pennsylvania will soon see far fewer of its students walking down the aisle in cap and gown. Read more »

No shortage of reasons why so many can't read

To figure out why some of his elementary school students struggle with reading, Daun Kauffman sometimes has learned as much in home visits as in his classroom. Kauffman now teaches 2nd grade at Juniata Park Academy, but for more than a decade he taught in his own neighborhood in Hunting Park, where families struggle to balance so many life issues. Read more »


America by the Numbers: Pass or Fail in a Cambodia Town

Asian Americans are the best-educated and highest-income ethnic group in the United States. They are often referred to as the "model minority," suggesting that all Asians are successful in school and in life. But Southeast Asian Americans have some of the lowest high school completion rates in the nation. We visit Long Beach, California—the city with America's largest Cambodian community—to find out why this educational crisis is happening and what people are doing about it.

WHYY Education Programs

WHYY Flash Media Labs

WHYY, along with William Hite, the superintendent of the School District of Philadelphia, joined Swenson Arts and Technology High School staff and students for a Flash Media Lab ribbon-cutting ceremony on October 28, 2014 in Northeast Philadelphia. Flash Media Labs comprise editing stations, cameras, microphones and tripods. Along with the equipment, WHYY provides instructors for after-school production workshops and teacher training. There are currently 18 students and seven trained teachers filming documentaries at Swenson and more than 75 students participating in Flash Media Labs around the City of Philadelphia.

WHYY I Like This Book

What books inspire you and captivate your attention? Let us know and you could be on TV! WHYY I Like This Book continues to inspire young readers to share stories about their favorite book. Through this program, WHYY produces a series of reading and literacy-focused/child-centered spots featuring distinguished readers on air in short pieces answering "WHYY I Like This Book."


Philadelphia Electrical and Technology High School | Philadelphia Public School Notebook | Bodine High School for International | Swenson Arts and Technology High School | Father Judge High School | Freire Charter School | School District of Philadelphia | Research for Action

About WHYY's Public Media Commons

The Dorrance H. Hamilton Public Media Commons at WHYY puts the power of media in the hands of anyone with a story to tell and helps all of us become more discerning media consumers. This ground-breaking new venture is named in honor of Mrs. Dorrance H. Hamilton, whose generous leadership gifts have helped move this project from idea to reality. With training programs for students and teachers, hands-on instruction for WHYY members with an interest in media and a facility that can host and record events for non-profits and business alike, Hamilton Commons opens new avenues of expression to the residents of the Philadelphia region.

The Public Media Commons is a physical embodiment of WHYY's commitment to community engagement. It serves as a hub of media literacy for the Philadelphia area, a gathering place for educators, a hands-on learning environment for students and a venue for performers and lecturers.

WHYY's Public Media Commons is located at 150 N. 6th Street, Philadelphia, PA.

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