NPT Produces New ‘Champions’ Spots for American Graduate Day, Sept. 17


The fifth annual American Graduate Day is Saturday, Sept. 17, and will feature a live block of programming hosted by journalist Soledad O’Brien with news segments, performances, interviews and mini-documentaries.

NPT is an active participant in the American Graduate: Let’s Make It Happen public media initiative and as such regularly creates documentaries and short video projects highlighting education issues in Middle Tennessee. This month we are rolling out three Champions videos. Champions work to improve their communities by dedicating their time, talents and resources to help students achieve better educational and personal results. Over the past few years, NPT has featured nearly 30 individuals and organizations in Champions videos and all are available on YouTube and on our American Graduate website in addition to regular broadcasts on-air.

Our new Champions videos highlight:

  • Benjamin Smith, executive director of Southern Word, a literary and performing arts program helping youth to build literacy and presentation skills. In the video, Smith and students – including Cassidy Martin, Nashville’s Youth Poet Laureate – talk about the benefits of the program. The video also shows clips of Southern Word performances.
  • David Lockett, a teacher who runs a camp incorporating the arts into STEM curricula. Lockett’s Camp STEM is a series of one-week programs in which young students try hands-on activities across genres, from art to technology. This approach, Lockett tells us in the video, is beneficial to children who are visual learners and helps all students develop problem-solving and communication skills.
  • Sheila Calloway, whose commitment to young people extends beyond her duties as a juvenile court judge. In the new Champions spot, Judge Calloway discusses options such as finding mentors or activities to help young people avoid a path that may lead them to jail.

This year American Graduate Day comes at the end of Spotlight Education, a week of public television programming highlighting America’s students and new approaches to educating them. There will be special episodes of Frontline, NOVA and other shows, as well as special reports from PBS NewsHour and PBS NewsHour Weekend.

Here’s an overview of the week’s offerings on NPT.

Sunday, Sept. 11, at 10 & 10:30 p.m. Two NPT original American Graduate productions will air back-to-back. NPT Reports: Choice or Chance? is about school choice options in the Nashville area, followed by American Graduate: Translating the Dream, about the challenges faced by non-native English speakers as they try to navigate the education system in their new home.

Monday, Sept. 12, at 9 p.m. POV’s All the Difference (2016) is about two African-American males who manage to achieve their goal of graduating from college despite overwhelming odds and difficult life situations. One of the young men, Krishaun Branch, attended Fisk University.

Tuesday, Sept. 13, at 8 p.m. Frontline’s A Subprime Education is a look at the for-profit college industry and is especially relevant given the recent closure of ITT Technical Institutes across the country. The program considers accusations of predatory behavior and fraud among education chains. In that same episode, The Education of Omarina shows how an innovative program to curb the high school dropout crisis has affected one girl’s journey.

Tuesday, Sept. 13, at 9 p.m. The focus is on innovative approaches to education in TED TALKS: Education Revolution. Speakers include Anna Deavere Smith and Sal Khan discussing the school-to-prison pipeline, the impact of micromanaging kids, and transforming struggling students into scholars.

Wednesday, Sept. 14, at 8 p.m. NOVA offers suggestions of how the School of the Future should look in our age of information, rapid innovation and globalization.

Thursday, Sept. 15, at 11:30 p.m. The story told in Time for School began in 2003, when the five teens featured were starting their first year of school in their respective countries. Current-day footage is combined with material filmed over the intervening years as the children struggled to attain a basic education and now approach what should be their graduation dates.

Saturday, Sept. 17, 1 to 5 p.m. Look for NPT’s original video shorts – including the three new Champions spots– during American Graduate Day programming. We’ll also offer another chance to watch the NPT original production American Graduate: Translating the Dream at 5:30 p.m.

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