CUNY School Featured In “American Graduate Day 2013,” A Live National Multiplatform Event To Keep High School Students On The Path To Graduation; Premieres September 28 On Public Television

Kingsborough Early College Secondary School, a small, ambitious and rigorous public school in Brooklyn, will be featured this weekend during a national day-long public television special about improving America’s high school graduation rates.  The special, American Graduate Day 2013, airs from 12 Noon to 7 p.m. on Saturday, September 28th, and is part of the public media initiative: American Graduate: Let’s Make It Happen.  It will be broadcast on public television stations nationwide and streamed live from the Tisch WNET Studios at Lincoln Center in New York City.  Local viewers can watch on WNET Channels 13 and 21 as well as on NJTV stations.

The seven-hour American Graduate Day 2013 marathon, , made possible by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), focuses on critical themes, including Expanded Learning Time & After School Programs, Early Education, Mentoring, Career Readiness & College Completion, STEM Programs, Family Support, and Dropout Re-engagement & Prevention.

The key component of the event is the participation of the community-based organizations such as The Early College Initiative (ECI) at the City University of New York, which supports 14 New York City public schools, including Kingsborough Early College Secondary School (KECSS). ECI schools like KECSS (grades 6-12) blend a rigorous college-prep curriculum with the opportunity to earn up to two years of college credit while in high school – at no cost to students and their families.  Most students at ECI schools are underrepresented in higher education and often the first in their families to earn an advanced degree. The KECSS Class of 2013 boasted a remarkable 90% graduation rate, and of those graduates, nearly 60% earned Associate Degrees from Kingsborough Community College in addition to their high school diplomas.

The segment about KECSS, which airs at about 6 p.m., features interviews with Regina Peruggi, President of Kingsborough Community College; Connie Hamilton, Principal of KECSS; and Tristan Gentles, a recent graduate who earned an associate degree in addition to his high school diploma.  Peruggi and Hamilton discuss the importance of early college preparation for students as young as age eleven to build confidence as well as prepare students for higher education.  Gentles shares how exciting it was to be on a college campus even when he was in junior high school.  “It didn’t seem intimidating.  They didn’t make it seem impossible,” he says.

Cass Conrad, Executive Director of the CUNY Early College Initiative, said, “We’re honored that Kingsborough Early College Secondary School has been recognized by the American Graduate Day team.  Nearly 6,500 students are enrolled in the network of CUNY Early College Initiative schools, and we are proud that they have the opportunity to graduate with significant head start on their college and career goals.”

On, the event will include live viewer generated video content submitted in response to questions such as “How has your life changed, or been changed by the power of volunteering?”  Viewers will be encouraged to participate in the event by asking questions and sharing ideas before and during the broadcast on Twitter and Facebookusing the hashtag #AmGrad.

Visit the American Graduate Day Web site for more details on participating PBS and NPR stations as well as other television and radio programs:

About ECI

The Early College Initiative at CUNY develops and supports innovative public schools that restructure the high school and college learning experience, enabling more students to be successful. CUNY’s 14 Early College schools create supportive environments for students that blur the institutional lines between high school and college to make earning a college degree more accessible, affordable and attractive.

About WNET

In 2013, WNET is celebrating the 50th Anniversary of THIRTEEN, New York’s flagship public media provider. As the parent company of THIRTEEN and WLIW21 and operator of NJTV, WNET brings quality arts, education and public affairs programming to over 5 million viewers each week. WNET produces and presents such acclaimed PBS series as Nature, Great Performances, American Masters, Need to Know, Charlie Rose and a range of documentaries, children’s programs, and local news and cultural offerings available on air and online. Pioneers in educational programming, WNET has created such groundbreaking series as Get the Math, Oh Noah! and Cyberchase and provides tools for educators that bring compelling content to life in the classroom and at home. WNET highlights the tri-state’s unique culture and diverse communities through NYC-ARTS, Reel 13, NJ Today and MetroFocus, the multi-platform news magazine focusing on the New York region. WNET is also a leader in connecting with viewers on emerging platforms, including the THIRTEEN Explore iPad App where users can stream PBS content for free.


American Graduate: Let’s Make it Happen is helping local communities identify and implement solutions to the high school dropout crisis. American Graduate demonstrates public media’s commitment to education and its deep roots in every community it serves. Beyond providing programming that educates, informs and inspires, public radio and television stations — locally owned and operated — are an important resource in helping to address critical issues, such as the dropout rate. In addition to national programming, more than 75 public radio and television stations in 33 states have launched on-the-ground efforts working with community and at risk youth to keep students on-track to high school graduation. More than 1000 partnerships have been formed locally through American Graduate, and CPB is working with Alma and Colin Powell’s America’s Promise Alliance and Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

About CPB

The Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), a private, nonprofit corporation created by Congress in 1967, is the steward of the federal government’s investment in public broadcasting. It helps support the operations of more than 1,300 locally-owned and -operated public television and radio stations nationwide, and is the largest single source of funding for research, technology, and program development for public radio, television and related online services.