American Graduate: Let's Make It Happen is public media's long term committment to supporting community-based solutions to the dropout crisis. 

Understanding the issues that face us is the first step toward resolving them. Nationally, more than 5,000 students drop out of school every school day. That calculates to more than 1 million students every year who do not graduate from high school with their peers. Without a high school diploma, these individuals are far more likely to spend their lives periodically unemployed, on government assistance, or cycling in and out of the prison system. But in today’s knowledge-based economy, high school dropouts are not the only ones affected when they choose to drop out. 

KBTC, along with our partners, First 5 FUNdamentals, United Way of Pierce County and Graduate Tacoma, is supporting community-based solutions to the dropout crisis. Our focus is on early learning and demonstrating how we can prevent long term education problems by providing quality early learning experiences. 

The years from birth through age eight are the most critical for brain development, and significant evidence from research and evaluation demonstrate that participation in high-quality early learning programs will lead to both short- and long-term positive outcomes for all children, especially those with high needs, including increased school readiness and success and improved high school graduation and college attendance and completion.

What We're Doing

  • National and local reporting, both on air and online is helping communities understand the challenges and community-driven solutions associated with the dropout crisis. 

  • Public forums, town halls, and community conversations are activating discussions between community leaders, educators and more.

  • Free, digital classroom resources such as PBS Kids and PBS Learning Media, are providing youth across the pre-k to postsecondary education/career spectrum with access to high-quality learning materials that engages them in classrooms and schools across America.

  • Educational programs

  • Convening diverse stakeholders in forums and providing access to free, digital classroom resources for teachers and parents.

Conecting to Early Education 

pbskids-rtl-logo.pngHigh school success starts in the early years, before a student even enters kindergarten. We are addressing this through our work with the Ready To Learn initiative; providing high-quality educational programs, resources and hands-on learning experiences to students in the community. Learn more about our local work around the Ready To Learn initiative here.



With the passing of the Every Student Succeeds Act, the first overhaul of national education policy in 13 years, a major piece of the legislation calls for the graduation rate as a measure of success. Read the announcement and see how our American Graduate initiative has rallied around improving youth success.

Icon Every Child Succeeds Act and KBTC (35.4 KB)

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