American Graduate stations are building new relationships with a variety of community partners from across the nation. From national partners to local partners, these organizations are proving to be critical to the success of American Graduate, creating new opportunities for public media stations as they deploy messaging, activities, and collective strategies that help community members address the dropout crisis.
"This initiative has brought together organizations that had not worked together before,” said Caroline Martin of Alabama Public Television (APT). APT stepped forward to convene the "Birmingham GED Network" when it heard from partners that this was a community need. Martin added that the network is aligning and connecting partner work to increase understanding of alternative education resources and providing a foundation for future projects for sustainability as APT moves forward beyond the grant cycle.
At Vegas PBS, Lee Solonche says strategic partnerships provide credibility, which supports more relationships. Their key partner is the Clark County School District. Solonche says that sharing American Graduate goals allows them to present a strong partnership to the community which facilitates the involvement of other partners. Broadening the partner base ensures diverse perspectives, and efforts can be aligned for impact.
Key partners also provide vital information for stations, which helps public media tell the story. New Mexico PBS’s partner, the University of New Mexico’s Center for Education Policy Research, has maps showing the distribution of education challenges. “Using the maps to back up our decisions as a media station and as partners has given us credibility with others in our community,” said Laurel Wyckoff. Now new organizations see New Mexico PBS as an essential partner on other initiatives.
Quality work has attracted attention in other locations as well. In Detroit, DPT’s content tells the story of their community partners and their efforts to help students graduate. In turn, these stories caught the attention of other organizations focused on graduation, including the South East Michigan Council of Governments and the Detroit Regional Chamber. Georgeann Herbert said that by working together, they are reinforcing the need to finish high school and prepare for jobs in Michigan's new economy.
And in St. Louis, the Nine Network’s convening of partners has changed all involved. Shelly Williams says, “The manner in which we develop our content has transformed significantly. Partners have transformed from separate organizations to a collective and have shaped new roles for Nine as the trusted convener, community catalyst, story teller, and more.
These are just some of the ways that American Graduate has enabled public media stations to build broad, networked community partnerships that shape an initiative working to make a difference in their local communities.
Watch Vegas PBS’s discussion school reform with district officials here.
View the New Mexico PBS and CEBR data maps here.
Watch Nine’s partner shaped content here.