PBS ‘Frontline’ Episode Tonight Highlights HISD’s Dropout Prevention Efforts

HISD’s efforts to get dropouts back in class — and keep at-risk students from leaving school in the first place — will be the focus of tonight’s (Tuesday, Sept. 25) special report by the award-winning Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) television show, Frontline.

The two-hour “Dropout Nation” episode documents the challenges and obstacles four students face in their quest to earn a diploma from HISD’s Sharpstown High School.  The documentary was produced by a PBS crew that spent the spring 2012 semester embedded with the Sharpstown faculty and students.

On Monday night, HISD Superintendent Terry Grier and Sharpstown Principal Rob Gasparello were featured on this Houston PBS program to discuss HISD’s innovative approaches to the national dropout crisis.  Today, HISD schools graduate 2,000 more students annually than they did in 2007, even though the overall number of students attending Houston schools is unchanged.  The HISD dropout rate has been in decline and the graduation rate has been climbing in for four consecutive years, and now stand at record levels. Read more about HISD’s latest dropout data here.

“Dropout Nation” is set to air on PBS and on the PBS website Tuesday at 8 p.m. You can watch a trailer here and check local listings for showtimes here.

There will be a live chat at 1 p.m. Wednesday following the airing of the episode with the film’s producer, Frank Koughan, Sharpstown administrator Brandi Brevard, and HISD dropout prevention expert Mark White.