A high school dropout prevention roundtable forum, dubbed "The American Graduate" is set for tonight in Montgomery.
The forum will include Montgomery's school superintendent, police chief, state board of education executive, non-profit/community leaders and ASU faculty and will take place from 6 - 8 p.m.
Those who want to attend the forum should go to the new Bellingrath Middle School, located at 3350 S. Court St. in Montgomery.
The roundtable forum is funded by a $20,000 American Graduate Community Engagement Grant that WVAS-FM was awarded from the National Center for Media Engagement (NCME).
ASU says the money is being used to support WVAS' efforts to work with Montgomery-area communities to collaboratively address the dropout crisis plaguing today's youth.
Candy Capel, WVAS station manager, said she hopes the radio station will be a facilitator for community conversation on this important problem both at Wednesday's forum and in the future.
"The dropout rates in the state of Alabama are startling. In some areas of our state, only 40 to 50 percent of students are receiving their high school diplomas on graduation day," Capel said. "We want and need community members and education officials to come together to talk about the high dropout rates among Alabama's teenagers," she added.
"This is a critical issue that needs to be addressed. Our high school dropout rates impact the quality of life, economic development and public safety of our community."
Confirmed panelists include Dr. Tommy Bice, Alabama's deputy state superintendent of education; Barbara Thompson, Montgomery Public Schools superintendent; Kevin Murphy, Montgomery Police Department chief; Dr. Cheryl Plettenberg from ASU's Alabama Family Youth Initiative (AFYI) program; and Cynthia Handy from ASU's Amazing Students Putting in Resilient Effort (ASPIRE) program.
The panelists will examine the dropout rates and discuss solutions to the problem.