PBS NewsHour Student Reporting Labs Presents: Checking In On Dropping Out

Nationally, about 70 percent of U.S. students graduate on time with a regular diploma. For Hispanic and African American students, the proportion drops to about half. Sadly, over two million teenagers attend so-called “dropout factory” schools where only 60 percent of the students finish high school in four years.

“Checking In On Dropping Out” is a collaborative project by PBS NewsHour’s Student Reporting Labs and PPH’s Radio Rootz program. Many of the Radio Rootz journalists come from these very “Dropout Factories” and their reporting investigates why so many of their classmates are not finishing high school and how their peers feel about the perceptions and realities of public education.

Join us for this exciting screening that features the 5 minute shorts produced by D.C. and NYC Radio Rootz young reporters. Following the screening, a lively panel discussion will feature youth, local journalists and education leaders on the topic of drop outs and school improvement.  A reception will precede the program.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011
Hillyer Art Space, 9 Hillyer Ct. NW, Washington, D.C. 20008
(Between 21nd and Florida, behind the Phillips Collection)
Doors open at 6:30
Films at 7:30
Panel 7:45-8:30

Moderator: Hari Sreenivasan, On-Air Correspondent for The PBS NewsHour

John Bridgeland, President & CEO of Civic Enterprises
Anurima Bhargava Chief, Educational Opportunities Section, Department of Justice
Kavitha Cardoza, Senior Reporter, DC WAMU 88.5
Del McFadden, Columbia Heights/Shaw Family Support Collaborative
Khalis Marshall, Ingrid Cerón, Youth Reporters for Radio Rootz in DC

NYC Youth Reporters – TBA

Leigh Ann Caldwell, Producer for C-SPAN, and DC Director of Radio Rootz/People’s Production House
Leah Clapman, Managing Editor, Education, PBS NewsHour

People’s Production House is a journalism training and production institute focused on producing stories that bring unheard voices to the fore. We teach students, immigrants, and working families how to create ground-breaking news critical to a vibrant democracy. Radio Rootz is a media literacy and production program for youth that fosters leadership development, civic engagement, and the creation of multimedia journalism. Through in-school and after-school programs, Rootz participants analyze and create media, learn skills including writing radio scripts, news research, interviewing and voicing, digital editing, and more. www.peoplesproductionhouse.org

Recognizing that informed and engaged young people are critical for a healthy democracy, the PBS NewsHour Student Reporting Lab connects high school students to local PBS stations and news professionals in their community to produce original, student-generated news video reports.  The young people who participate in the project learn how to report, problem-solve, synthesize information and investigate important topics: journalism as a form of learning. Funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, The project also includes a news literacy/digital media curriculum and online collaborative space designed to transform students’ understanding of current events and the ever-evolving digital media environment.


Hari Sreenivasan, PBS NewsHour
In December 2009 Hari Sreenivasan joined the new PBS NewsHour as an online and on-air correspondent. While at CBS News, Hari reported regularly on the “CBS Evening News,” “The Early Show;” and “CBS Sunday Morning.” Before that, he served as an anchor and correspondent for ABC News, working extensively on the network’s 24-hour digital service “ABC News Now.” Hari also reported for “World News Tonight with Peter Jennings”, “Nightline,” and anchored the overnight program World News Now. Previously, he ran his own production company and freelanced as a reporter for KTVU-TV in Oakland, Calif. (2002-04). Sreenivasan served as an anchor and senior correspondent for CNET Broadcast in San Francisco, Calif. (1996-2002) and was a reporter for WNCN-TV in Raleigh, N.C. (1995-96). He is the recipient of multiple Outstanding Broadcast Story Awards from the South Asian Journalists Association, an organization for which he served as a board member from 2001-04.

Anurima Bhargava, Chief, Educational Opportunities Section, Civil Rights Division at Department of Justice
Before joining the Department of Justice, Anurima Bhargava was the Director of the Education Practice at the NAACP Legal Defense & Educational Fund (LDF) where she engaged in litigation and advocacy to expand educational access and opportunity for students of color. Prior to joining LDF, Anurima worked as a staff attorney at the New York City Department of Education and clerked in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.

John Bridgeland, CEO of Civic Enterprises
John Bridgeland’s work on the high school dropout crisis helped bring national attention to the issue, with the TIME cover story “Dropout Nation” and two Oprah Winfrey shows prompted by his report, The Silent Epidemic. Bridgeland is also Vice Chairman of Malaria No More, a non-profit launched at the White House Summit on Malaria that is bringing new resources, advocacy and grassroots support to ending malaria deaths in Africa by 2015. Bridgeland also was a leader in ServiceNation, a presidential forum with Senators Barack Obama and John McCain and a summit that showcased a 10-point plan to increase community, national and international service opportunities, which informed the Serve America Act by Senators Edward Kennedy and Orrin Hatch, signed into law in 2009.  Bridgeland was recently appointed by President Obama to the White House Council for Community Solutions and was previously Director of the White House Domestic Policy Council under President George W. Bush.

Kavitha Cardoza, Senior Reporter, WAMU Public Radio
Kavitha joined the WAMU 88.5 local news team in April 2008 after working for almost six years as a reporter/anchor at the public radio station of the University of Illinois at Springfield. Kavitha holds an M.S. in Broadcast Journalism from the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign, an M.S. in Communication from the Manipal Institute of Communication in India. She has won numerous awards for her work in journalism, including most recently a 2010 Special Citation in the Education Writers Association’s National Awards for Education Reporting contest.


Del McFadden, Columbia Heights/Shaw Family Support Collaborative
Del McFadden has worked with at risk you who are involved in gang/crew violence first as a youth outreach worker from 2007 to 2009, and later as a coordinator in the US Department of Justice funded “Weed and Seed” Strategy with the Columbia Heights/Shaw Family Support Collaborative.  Del’s day to day work brings him into contact with gang-involved youth who are very suspicious of adults and others they do not know.  Del has been trained extensively in Solution Focused Brief Therapy and uses it to both win the confidence of these young people and to defuse critical situations that can lead to outbreaks of gang violence. A significant part of Del’s time is spent training others using the Gang Intervention Partnership model, including multiday training sessions for law enforcement and community partners from Seattle, Virginia, Georgia, Denmark, and France.  Del was born and raised in Washington DC, and has attended Southeastern University, Washington DC for post-secondary education. He has 14 years of youth services work and received numerous awards from CSOSA, and other partner agencies.

Khalis Marshall
Khalis, age 19, is a graduate from Columbia Height Educational Campus in Washington D.C.; he is also a Youth Program Associate at People’s Production House where he teaches media production and literacy to youth. Over the Last two years he has worked on an audio documentary feature that was aired over the radio and a video short broadcast through PBS NewsHour’s Student Reporting Labs. Khalis’ interest in media and film was jumpstarted when he saw a sci-fi made by Steven Spielberg; since this time he has been “pursuing the untapped potential in the world of film and movie making.”