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Mayor to take part in OLLU panel discussion

Documentary produced by alumna Faith Radle subject of panel

Mayor Julian Castro and other local leaders will be on campus for a panel discussion and screening of an inspiring documentary film about a San Antonio dropout prevention program. The event will take place Nov. 20 in Thiry Auditorium. The film, “Skipping Up,” will be followed by a panel discussion on Latino graduation rates. The event begins at 7 p.m. and is free and open to the public.

Filmed by director Jim Mendiola and produced by OLLU graduate Faith Radle (MEd 2000), “Skipping Up” follows three eighth grade students over several months at Mark Twain Middle School in the San Antonio Independent School District.

The students belong to the Middle School Partners Program, which takes eighth graders who are at least one year behind in school and provides them with an eighth and ninth grade curriculum in one year. Students who complete the program are allowed to “skip up” a grade and enter high school as sophomores. Most importantly, the chances of these students dropping out decreases from 90 percent to less than 10 percent.

A second film, “I Really Want To Make It,” will follow “Skipping Up.“ Texas Public Radio news director David Martin Davies will moderate a discussion after the screening of both films with a panel that includes Castro and Jeanne Russell, Chief Strategist for SA2020 and an education adviser to the mayor.

The documentary was produced for the American Graduate initiative to address the issue of graduation rates.