Graduation Highway


TED SIMONS: TONIGHT'S EDITION OF AMERICAN GRADUATE LOOKS AND THE HIGH SCHOOL DROPOUT RATES AND WHAT THE CITY OF PHOENIX IS DOING TO LOWER THE NUMBERS. IN 2012, PHOENIX HAD THE HIGHEST DROPOUT RATE IN THE COUNTRY, TODAY IT SITS AROUND 20%, WHICH IS BELOW THE NATIONAL AVERAGE OF 18%. PRODUCER SHANA FISCHER AND PHOTOGRAPHER ROB MCJANNET INTRODUCES US TO THE GRADUATION HIGHWAY.

PACKAGE: THIS IS MORE THAN JUST AN ART CLASS, FOR MAGALY. IT'S A SECOND CHANCE. TWO YEARS AGO, MAGALY DROPPED OUT OF HIGH SCHOOL. HER MOTHER SUGGESTED SHE RETURN AND JUST AS SHE WAS ABOUT TO START --

PACKAGE: AT FIRST, I GOT PREGNANT, AND LIKE I WANTED TO GIVE UP. I FELT EMBARRASSED. I DIDN'T WANT TO DO ANYTHING, MAYBE THIS ISN'T FOR ME. IT'S NOT SOMETHING I REALLY WANTED.

PACKAGE: MAGALY KNEW IT WOULD BE TOUGH TO FINISH HIGH SCHOOL BUT FOUND SUPPORT AT THE ACADEMY. THE SCHOOL IS GEARED AT HELPING STUDENTS WHO MAY NEED A SPECIALIZED LEARNING ENVIRONMENT. IT'S ONE OF SEVERAL WAYS THAT THE PHOENIX HIGH SCHOOL DISTRICT IS COMBATING THE DROPOUT RATE. AND IT'S WORKING. THE LEADERS SAY THEY HAVE AN 80% GRADUATION RATE, ON PAR WITH THE NATIONAL AVERAGE. THE DISTRICT ALSO HAS OUTREACH SPECIALISTS THAT GO DOOR-TO-DOOR TO ENCOURAGE THEM TO RETURN. TODAY THE SPECIALISTS ARE GETTING A HELP CAN HAND FROM MAYOR STANTON AND CITY LEADERS.

PACKAGE: WE INNOVATE THAT WAS HIGH SCHOOL RATE IS TOO -- HIGH SCHOOL DROPOUT RATE IS TOO HIGH, AND GET THE STUDENTS ON TO COLLEGE.

PACKAGE: EDUARDO, HOW ARE YOU DOING?

PACKAGE: JOINING THE MAYOR IS STEVEN HUNTER. HE'S NOW A COMMUNITY AMBASSADOR FOR THE TEAM.

PACKAGE: IT WAS ACCOUNTABILITY IN MY HOUSE. HAD TO GET YOUR HOMEWORK DONE TO EARN THE RIGHT TO PLAY BASKETBALL. YOU KNOW? YOU KNOW, IT WAS ALWAYS DOCTOR ALL OF THESE RESUMES AND REGULATIONS, THAT HELPED ME IN LIFE.

PACKAGE: THEY FIND A FAMILY THEY CAN HELP.

PACKAGE: OK, PUNCH IN THE NUMBER.

PACKAGE: THIS MAN'S YOUNGEST SON DROPPED OUT OF HIGH SCHOOL BECAUSE HE HAD TO WORK.

PACKAGE: THAT'S RIGHT.

PACKAGE: SO THE MAYOR AND HUNTER TEAM UP TO CONVINCE HIM TO TRY ONLINE SCHOOLING.

PACKAGE: YOU CAN FINISH HIGH SCHOOL AND MAYBE MOVE ON TO THE UNIVERSITY AND MOVE ON WITH YOUR LIFE AND CAREER. YOU'VE GOT TO FINISH HIGH SCHOOL.

PACKAGE: BECAUSE, YOU KNOW, I THINK RIGHT NOW, IT'S A DECISION, A SHORT-TERM DECISION NOT TO GO TO SCHOOL BUT YOU IN THE LONG RUN, A HIGH SCHOOL DIPLOMA IS GOING TO HELP YOU.

PACKAGE: AND STANTON SAYS HE CAN RELATE.

PACKAGE: I GREW UP IN A WORKING CLASS MONEY, WE DIDN'T HAVE A LOT OF MONEY, MY DAD SOLD SHOES AT JCPENNEY. THE FOUR STANTON KIDS WERE ABLE TO GO ON TO COLLEGE AND COME BACK AND BE ACTIVE IN THE COMMUNITY. BUT MY UPBRINGING WAS SIMILAR TO SO MANY KIDS THROUGHOUT THE CITY OF PHOENIX SO I TELL THEM, I WAS YOU. YOU KNOW? AND THE CHALLENGES YOU HAVE AND THE DECISIONS YOU'RE MAKING WERE THE EXACT SAME CHOICES I WAS FACED WITH MANY YEARS AGO.

PACKAGE: STUDENTS ALSO COST THE CITY. THE MAYOR SAYS AS MUCH AS $7 BILLION EVERY YEAR AND TAKES A MONETARY TOLL ON THE STUDENT. STUDIES SHOW THAT A STUDENT WHO DOESN'T HAVE A HIGH SCHOOL DIPLOMA, CAN EARN FAR LESS DURING THEIR LIFETIME COMPARED TO HIGH SCHOOL GRADUATES. THAT NUMBERS TRIPLES COMPARED TO COLLEGE GRADUATES. THE REASON MOST STUDENT DROP OUT. NOT ABOUT ACADEMICS BUT CIRCUMSTANCES. THEY HAVE TO WORK TO SUPPORT THEIR FAMILY OR DON'T HAVE TRANSPORTATION.

PACKAGE: THANKS FORCE BEING HERE.

PACKAGE: STEVEN HUNTER SAYS THAT'S WHY EVENTS LIKE THIS ARE CRUCIAL. I WANTED TO RELATE TO THEM, HEY, YOU KNOW, EDUCATION IS THE FOUNDATION OF IT ALL. YOU NEED YOUR HIGH SCHOOL DEGREE AND DON'T LET A SMALL PROBLEM NOW OR SOMETHING TEMPORARY AFFECT YOUR FUTURE.

PACKAGE: IT'S A SENTIMENT THAT MAGALY ECHOS. WHAT WAS ONCE A DREAM IS NOW A BRIGHT AND LIMITLESS FUTURE.

PACKAGE: MY MOTIVATION IS MY DAUGHTER, TO GO BACK TO SCHOOL. ALWAYS GOING TO BE MY DAUGHTER, MAKES ME GET EMOTIONAL, BECAUSE I KNOW I'M GOING TO MAKE PEOPLE AT HOME PROUD, ESPECIALLY MY DAUGHTER, BUT IT'S SOMETHING THAT IS GOING TO MAKE ME PROUD AND I'M SO INSECURE ABOUT MYSELF, SO WHEN I KNOW I CAN DO SOMETHING REALLY GOOD, IT MAKES ME FEEL REALLY PROUD OF MYSELF.

TED SIMONS: MAGALY WANTS TO ATTEND COMMUNITY COLLEGE AND THEN A UNIVERSITY TO STUDY WHILE PSYCHOLOGY. STEVEN HUNTER TOLD US THAT HE ENJOYED SCHOOL AND IF HE HADN'T MADE IT TO THE NBA, HE WOULD HAVE LOVED TO BE AN FBI AGENT. THURSDAY ON "ARIZONA HORIZON," HEAR FROM BOTH SIDES ON PROPOSITION 206 AND WE'LL TALK TO VALLEY CHEF MARK TARBELL AS HIS -- ABOUT HIS NEW JOB AS HOST OF "CHECK PLEASE." THAT'S IT FOR NOW. THANKS FOR JOINING US. YOU HAVE A GREAT EVENING!

CLOSED CAPTION PRODUCTIONS WWW.CCPRODUCTIONS.COM 844-335-0911

See a door-to-door effort by Phoenix mayor Greg Stanton and professional athletes to get dropouts to go back to school in an project called “Graduation Highway.”

Sponsor message:

In this segment:

Greg Stanton

Sponsor message:

Sign up to receive the Arizona PBS Insider

Get up-to-the-minute information about your favorite programs and learn more about Arizona PBS news and events.

Doctor Blake Mysteries

Doctor Blake Mysteries

Airing Saturdays at 8 p.m., this Australian series set in 1959 opens with Dr. Lucien Blake, a keeper of secrets and a solver of mysteries, returning to rural Ballarat to take over his late father’s medical practice and the role of police surgeon.

The Arizona Collection

Experience this award-winning series of programs that celebrates the people, places and history of Arizona.

The Vietnam War: A Film by Ken Burns and Lynn Novick

"The Vietnam War: A Film by Ken Burns and Lynn Novick"

Sunday-Thursday, Sept. 17-21, and Sunday-Thursday, Sept. 24-28, at 7 p.m. each night.