Community Engagement Initiative | 2011


Dropout crisis: Join the conversation in your community

Every nine seconds in America a student becomes a dropout. The lifelong impact of dropping out of school is tremendous: dropouts are more likely to rely on public assistance, have poorer health, or become incarcerated than their counterparts who finish high school.



What does the dropout crisis look like in our region? What impact does dropping out of school have on individuals and the community as a whole? Examine these issues in stories and interviews produced by WSKG Radio and the Innovation Trail.

Dropouts by the numbers by Matt Richmond & Crystal Sarakas

What is the economic impact of dropping out of high school? by Matt Richmond

Family and cultural pressures can make school difficult by Kathleen Harrison Cook

A different kind of school by Crystal Sarakas

From GED to PhD by Gregory Keeler

Community Conversation: Dropping Out – Part 1 hosted by Crystal Sarakas

Community Conversation: Dropping Out – Part 2 hosted by Crystal Sarakas



High School Dropouts
The high school dropout rate is rapidly increasing in many cities throughout the U.S. Teachers, counselors, lawmakers and parents are teaming up to reverse this disturbing trend. This program examines how adults in the Sacramento/Stockton area are literally going door-to-door to catch truants, threatening legal action against their parents, and providing second chances to kids who’ve already dropped out but want to return. We also pay a chilling visit to San Quentin Prison to meet “lifers” who trace their downfall to dropping out, but are now getting GEDs while incarcerated. Originally aired November 28, 2011 at 10PM on WSKG-TV.

9 Seconds: A Community Talkback
A follow-up panel discussion to High School Dropouts with local experts and community members sharing their opinions, perspectives and ideas on the subject. Hosted by WSKG Radio’s Crystal Sarakas. Originally aired November 28, 2011 at 10:30PM on WSKG-TV.

Tavis Smiley Reports: Too Important to Fail
This program looks at the status of black teenage boys and examines what it will take to make certain these at-risk males are not dismissed as throw-away kids. The program focuses on the lives of black teenagers who are achieving against enormous odds. Tavis Smiley profiles schools that are tackling the crippling drop-out rate and are turning things around. The program captures how educators are making a difference for these boys — what teaching techniques work and how community outreach and mentorship can compensate for the lack of other personal and social resources. Originally aired November 29, 2011 at 10PM on WSKG-TV.

Original Minds
Five teenagers stigmatized by being in Special Ed. struggle to articulate how their brains work, and discover that they are smarter than they thought. In a one-size-fits-all educational system, kids with learning disabilities suffer from lack of self-esteem. They become alienated and drop out. But the protagonists of ORIGINAL MINDS buck the trend. They work intensively with the filmmaker to tell their own stories. Their narratives reveal the unique approach to learning that each must discern and claim as his or her own if they are to succeed in the world. Originally aired November 30, 2011 at 10PM on WSKG-TV.



Encourage your chilren and students to join the conversation.


Interested in continuing the conversation about the dropout crisis in your community? Contact Erik Jensen, WSKG’s Director of Community Engagement, at or 607-729-0100 x319.



National Dropout Prevention Center

Denzel Washington on High School Dropouts, At-Risk Youth by the PBS NewsHour

The True Cost of High School Dropouts by Henry M. Levin & Cecilia E. Rouse, NY Times