APT Teacher Town Hall listens to the boots on the ground of efforts to increase graduation.
Alabama Public Television gave a voice to teachers on the frontline of the dropout crisis. Alabama has one of the worst graduation rates in the country -- 23,000 students in 2011 didn't graduate. APT brought together approximately 100 teachers to share their perspectives on the Dropout Crisis during an American Graduate Teacher Town Hall. Shelly Stewart of the Mattie C. Stewart Foundation relayed the finding of a teacher survey that parent and community involvement, student motivation, and teacher supports were the most important factors impacting graduation rates.
Teachers helped identify the causes and solutions to the dropout crisis. They shared how they can identify a student who is ready to drop out, but also ways that they can make a difference. These include making classes as exciting as possible, including technology and collaboration, and making connections between schoolwork and future careers. Teachers also described support from parents and principles as a crucial part of their work. In a text poll of the teachers, 54% said supportive leadership was the most important support needed to retain teachers, only 16% said higher salaries were most important.
Surprising findings like these are why it is so important to help communities understand the complexities of the dropout crisis from those who see it every day. Because of Alabama Public Television's American Graduate Teacher Town Hall, Teachers were listened to, and the broader community became more aware of the obstacles and opportunities they face in increasing the graduation rates.
American Graduate: Let's Make It Happen is a national public media initiative supported by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.