American Graduate Day


  • Community Partnerships Helping Students in School

    Learn how Harrison High School in Evansville, IN is using community partnerships to support students in this video from American Graduate Day 2013. Reconnecting Youth is a nonprofit organization that helps bring social workers into schools. High school students often need help balancing school, work and their social lives. Social workers help students improve their time management and communication skills. When students feel more connected to school, they begin to see how they fit in and how they can contribute to their communities. Use the resources in the Support Materials section below to help students improve their communication skills.

    Grades: 9-13+
  • Promoting Leadership in Students

    Learn about how empowerment organizations like Banister Leadership Academy are helping African-American young men in this clip from American Graduate Day 2014. The Banister Leadership Academy in Omaha, Nebraska helps African-American young men in their community. Before Byron started the leadership program, he was just getting by in school and was using drugs. But mentors at Banister Leadership Academy helped him set high expectations for himself. Now, Byron is excited to continue his education and motivated to give back to his community.

    Grades: 9-13+
  • Parent Outreach and a Longer School Year Strengthens a School District

    Investigate how Balsz School District in Phoenix, AZ has used a longer school year, better instruction, and parent outreach programs to improve learning in this video from American Graduate Day 2013. To prepare students for school, the district implemented early childhood programs so students could improve their English and become familiar with school routines. The school year was lengthened, and teachers revised curricula. Parent coaching, immigration, and finance outreach programs have helped parents better support their children. See the Support Materials section for resources you can use to increase parent engagement in your school.

    Grades: 13+
  • Supporting Students and Giving Them Second Chances

    Learn how mentors from GearUp helped a student in trouble turn his life around in this clip from American Graduate Day 2014. Hector grew up in a tough neighborhood, and was frequently in trouble himself until he started working with Emily Johnson, a mentor from GearUp. But despite having the support of a mentor and his coaches, Hector still did not believe in himself, and was arrested in high school. Hector had a transformative experience at Anytown camp and resolved to put more effort into school and achieving his goals. He now acts as an ambassador for GearUp and works to inspire young people.

    Grades: 9-13+
  • Mentors Helping Latino Students Access College

    Learn how CAMINO, the College Access Mentoring Information and Outreach program is preparing Latino students in Savanah, GA for higher education in this video from American Graduate Day 2013. Melody Rodruiguez founded CAMINO to give Latino students the information and support they needed to access college. Mentors not only guide students as they take college entrance tests, apply for scholarships, and research scholarships, they also provide emotional support when students face difficult obstacles. Use the handout in the Support Materials section below to start planning your own mentorship program.

    Grades: 13+
  • Mentors Helping First-Generation College Students

    Learn how tnAchieves helps first generation college students as they prepare for college through mentoring, scholarship opportunities, and advising in this video from American Graduate Day 2013. The steps required to prepare for, apply to, and finance a college education are challenging for all students, but they can be especially daunting when you are the first person in your family to pursue higher education. tnAchieve helps students with challenging tasks, such as completing the FAFSA application, and connects the students with mentors. Use the FAFSA Guide handout in the Support Materials section to help students apply for financial aid.

    Grades: 11-13+
  • Building Bonds Through Mentoring

    Learn how iMentor is helping connect mentors with students in this video from MetroFocus. At the Academy for Software Engineering, a high school in New York City, each student is paired with an adult mentor. iMentor is an organization that finds adults, trains them, coordinates the activities they do with students, and facilitates classes for the students. Students practice skills that will help them get into and thrive in college, such as how to set goals how to think critically about issues. Students email their mentors each week and the mentors meet with the students at school once a month.

    Grades: 13+
  • Preparing Students for Careers in Technology

    Explore how a high school is partnering with local businesses to provide students with technical training in this video from FRONTLINE. Beekmantown High School, in West Chazy, NY, has started the Adirondack P-Tech program to train students for technology jobs found in the region. Eight grade students apply to the program. Once selected, they enter a six-year program in which they choose to specialize in industrial manufacturing, environmental technology, or computer technology and earn an associate’s degree. Local businesses are heavily involved in the funding and design of the program.

    Grades: 13+
  • Engineering with Arduino

    See how educators at Liberty Science Center use Arduino boards and toys to build programing and engineering skills. The engineering workshop begins with students making a catapult using office supplies. Students test and modify their designs to improve their accuracy. Next, students make a trebuchet. The students learn about the programing involved in making an Arduino-controlled motor swing the arm of the trebuchet.

    Use the activity Engineering Catapults from Liberty Science Center in the Support Materials to practice engineering with your students.

    Grades: 13+
  • Building Boats to Support and Inspire Students

    Learn how Rocking the Boat engages and supports students as they design, build, and launch boats in this clip from American Graduate Day 2014. Rocking the Boat is a nonprofit organization that gives students in the Bronx in New York City hands-on engineering experience. Students use the boats they build to monitor water quality in the Bronx River. The organization provides additional support through social workers and college readiness programs.

    Use the activity "Rocking the (Recycled) Boat:An Eco-friendly Rain Gutter Regatta" in the Support Materials to teach engineering skills to your students.

    Grades: 13+
  • Engaging Students in Technology and Engineering Projects

    Learn how MOUSE is engaging middle and high school students in technology and engineering in this video from American Graduate Day 2013. Beginning in the middle school years, students can join the MOUSE Squad, which trains them to become technology experts in their schools. As 11th and 12th graders, students can start to design new technologies in the MOUSE Crops. After selecting a service-orientated theme, the MOUSE Corps members design, test, and refine technologies that benefit other people. Use the handout in the teacher's resources to help prepare for a technology or engineering partnership at your school.

    Grades: 13+
  • Hosting a STEM Day

    Learn how Google partnered with cultural institutions to create a “Geek Fair” celebrating STEM education in this video from MetroFocus. The focus of the fair was providing hands-on activities for children. Activities included operating a robot, building circuits, solving math puzzles, and studying fossils. By getting children interested in science and technology, the organizers hope to inspire more people to study these fields in the future.

    See the "STEM Day Activities" handout in the Support Materials section for more engaging STEM ideas.

    Grades: 13+
  • Greenhouse Labs in Schools

    Learn how New York Sun Works is bringing greenhouse labs to schools in this video from PBS Newshour Weekend. Because the green houses use hydroponics, a method of farming using water and nutrients instead of soil, the greenhouses are lighter and can be built on urban school roofs. New York Sunworks helps coordinate the funding, designing, and construction of the greenhouses. The greenhouses serve as labs, enabling students to learn about environmental science concepts as they grow plants. The curriculum teaches science standards as students learn about urban farming.

    Grades: 13+
  • Dropout Prevention: Responding to Early Warning Signs

    Learn how City Year corps members in Detroit help students succeed in this video from American Graduate Day 2014. City Year corps members work in a school for an academic year, tracking the students for the early warning indicators of dropping out: problems in attendance, behavior, math, and English. The corps members check in with students to solve problems and provide motivation and support. Read the handout “Establishing School-wide Attendance Incentives” from the organization Attendance Works for tips on improving attendance in your school.

    Grades: 13+
  • Learners Facing Challenges

    This collection highlights videos produced by Producers Workshop filmmakers for CPB's American Graduate initiative. These close-up stories focus on the challenges facing high school students across America - Native American, Latino, Asian American, more. How can they and their communities break through the obstacles so the students can succeed and graduate?

    Grades: 11-13+
  • Promoting Summer Learning

    Learn how the Horizons National network promotes summer learning in this video from American Graduate Day 2014. “Summer Slide” describes the loss of reading and math skills that often happens during the summer months when school is out. This phenomenon disproportionally affects low income children. The Horizons program combats summer slide by providing students with academic practice, physical activities, and enrichment activities. Use the “Summer Learning Guide” in the Support Materials to help turn everyday activities into learning activities that keep academic skills sharp outside of school.

    Grades: 13+
  • Career Spotlight: Meet the HorseAbility Team | American Graduate Day

    Meet the HorseAbility team and learn about the organization’s horse-related programs for children, adults and families with special needs. In this video, HorseAbility’s staff talk about the skills you need to do this work and how they got to where they are today.

    Grades: 6-12
  • Career Spotlight: Meet Keihen Kitchen | American Graduate Day

    Meet Keihen Kitchen, a student and intern in the Steelworker for the Future Program. In this video, Kitchen describes the path she took to get where she is today and why it’s really important to have goals in life.

    Grades: 6-12
  • Career Spotlight: Meet Deb McGowan | American Graduate Day

    In this video, learn about Deb McGowan, a second grade teacher at Earl Boyles Elementary School. McGowan talks about why she became a teacher, her love of children and what she thinks you should know about the teaching profession.

    Grades: 6-12
  • Career Spotlight: Meet Terrica Jamison | American Graduate Day

    Meet Terrica Jamison, Assistant Recruiting Officer at Louisiana State University, learn about how she landed her job at LSU, and the expertise she needs to be successful. In this video, Jamison talks about a variety of career readiness skills including the importance of time management and networking.

    Grades: 6-12

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