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KET to encore Dropping Back In series, premiere new fifth episode


KET to encore Dropping Back In series, premiere new fifth episode

For Release: 07/24/15 3:14 PM

Part of CPB’s American Graduate Initiative, the programs spotlight inspiring stories of those who have ‘dropped back in’ to achieve their degrees

Almost 40 million adults in America – one in five – have not earned a high school diploma or GED® credential. In Kentucky, more than 750,000 adults do not have their high school diploma or equivalent.

Why do people drop out of school? And why are some dropouts successful in returning to school and continuing their education against all odds?

KET traveled across the country in an attempt to answer these questions while producing its series Dropping Back In, which aired on PBS stations across the country last year. The series encores on KET Mondays at 10:30/9:30 pm beginning Aug. 10. A companion website is available at, which includes the entire series available for online streaming, as well as segmented videos of powerful, first-person stories from the series.

Frank, honest interviews with high school dropouts from Washington, D.C., New Orleans, Chicago, California, South Dakota, and here in Kentucky detail the obstacles – poverty, undiagnosed learning disorders, and more – that kept them from staying in school. But each interviewee also shares the ways in which he or she was able to “drop back in,” earn their GED® credential and move on to secure fulfilling careers.

Those featured include Ebony Nava of Lexington, who explains that she dropped out of school in second grade, when her parents planned to homeschool her – but never did. Nava achieved her GED® certification before enrolling at Bluegrass Community and Technical College. Former gang member and high school dropout Victor Rios, now an author and college professor at UC-Santa Barbara, is also profiled, noting, “The difference between myself and some of my friends that ended up dead or in prison is that I was fortunate to run into programs and people that cared.”

Appropriately, the series’ new, fifth episode, “Building a Better Life” – which focuses on job-training programs – premieres on Labor Day, Monday, Sept. 7 at 10:30/9:30 pm on KET. The episode underscores the importance of vocational education opportunities, especially for individuals not interested in pursuing a four-year college degree. It spotlights successful apprentice and training-based programs – including Café Hope, a culinary apprentice program in New Orleans; the Alexandria Seaport Foundation Boat Building Apprenticeship Program in Alexandria, Va.; and a sewing manufacturing training program called The Maker’s Coalition in Minneapolis, Minn. – that work to prepare the under-educated and unemployed for available jobs by teaching valuable work-based skills.

Dropping Back In is a KET production, funded by a grant through American Graduate: Let’s Make It Happen, a public media initiative by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting to help local communities solve the high school dropout crisis. Producers are Marsha Hellard and Vince Spoelker. Executive producer is Teresa Day. For more information about Dropping Back In, including additional video clips and archived video of the series after it airs, visit

KET is Kentucky’s largest classroom, serving more than one million people each week via television, online and mobile. Learn more about Kentucky’s preeminent public media organization on Twitter @KET and and at


Todd Piccirilli
Senior Director, Marketing and Communications