American Graduate

Vegas PBS has a consistent track-record of collecting and disseminating important information about key issues facing the communities it serves. With multi-year initiatives such as Keeping Kids Fit and Reading For Smiles, the station has successfully educated and engaged the public in coordinated cross-platform efforts to fight childhood obesity, advocate dental hygiene, and support healthy families.

Vegas PBS’ approach to the high school dropout crisis is no different. Part of the national American Graduate initiative, Vegas PBS is applying its successful formula of Community Outreach + On-Air Production + Online Resources to tackle this critical issue, which is especially important in Las Vegas, a city that has one of the lowest graduation rates in the country. (Source: US Dept of Education).

The consequences of high school dropout rates are of great importance to society. The economic and social costs in terms of earning potential, increased crime rate, greater single-parent pregnancy, drug use, and strain on social programs are why educators, researchers, politicians and corporations are all looking at the problem so closely.

  • In 2008, Nevada ranked 51st in the U.S and District of Columbia on the Average Graduation Rate for public high school students.

  • In 2009, the average annual income for a high school dropout was $19,540, compared to $27,380 for a high school diploma earner, $36,190 for an associate degree earner, and $46,930 for a bachelor degree holder.

  • In 2010, the overall Nevada graduation rate was 70.3%, and in Clark County it was 68.1%, and in Washoe it was 71.9%

  • Increasing by half its 2010 graduation rate, the Silver State would have gained $64,844,808 in earnings, $155,366,635 in vehicle and home purchases, 405 new jobs supported, and $53,317,331 in lost revenue.

Vegas PBS, in conjunction with the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, works alongside more than 100 public radio and television stations in supporting the national public media initiative American Graduate: Let’s Make it Happen. The multi-faceted effort encourages local communities to address the high school dropout crisis and provide resources to help students graduate.

While the following resources can assist children in danger of dropping out, it is imperative that parents meet with their child’s school guidance counsellor to go over all options.


Signs your child might be in danger of dropping out of school:

  • Ditching class

  • Being credit deficient for graduating with their class

  • Talking about employment or earning money

  • Talking about playing sports full-time or other unrealistic dreams

Parents can take action to help reduce the dropout risk for their child:

  • Take an interest in what their child is doing in school

  • Talk to school personnel, including administrators, teachers and counsellors

  • Request and arrange parent-teacher conferences


For students who are credit deficient, the following Alternative Schools offer credit retrieval:

For students who face scheduling issues, there are ways to complete online courses.

For students seeking a school program with fewer monitoring expectations, they can consider Adult Education. Specific programs will depend on the student’s age and parental permissions.

Parents can also choose to enroll their children in the Home Schooling Program, in which education is provided by an adult at home or through a home schooling agency.


For nearly 40 years, Communities in Schools has helped students achieve in school and graduate by partnering with local businesses, social service agencies and health care providers to provide food, school supplies, counseling and more.

The Stay in School Mentoring Project is a cooperative endeavor that allows community and educational professionals to mentor deserving middle school students.

Vegas PBS American Graduate

Phyllis James PSA

Contact Us

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