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American Graduate lesson from St. Louis: the power of public-private partnerships

When educators, parents and other community members joined in St. Louis’s Nine Network of Public Media town hall on improving the city’s schools, they talked about how to help more students graduate from high school with the skills they’ll need for college and the workplace.

One question they tackled was whether corporations are doing enough to partner with local schools by providing the resources and adult mentors that can improve student success.

Nine Network examined one long-time apprenticeship program at Purina, which has adjusted to meet the needs of today’s high school students.

During the town hall discussion, Mike Jones from the Family and Workforce Centers of America questioned whether corporate donors are willing to reach out to the schools that present the biggest challenges and are most in need of their help. Desiree Coleman, civic relations manager with Wells Fargo in St. Louis, said employees from her company who have worked with the city’s high school students have seen the powerful influence the presence of a caring adult can have on student achievement.

Be sure to follow the American Graduate reporting team on Twitter @NewsHourAmGrad and Facebook.

This story and PBS NewsHour’s education coverage is part of American Graduate: Let’s Make it Happen, a public media initiative made possible by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

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