NPT’s ‘Aging Matters: Healthy Aging’ Premieres Thursday, November 19

Aging is inevitable; the secret is to do so as healthily as possible and to learn to manage the changes aging brings. “Aging Matters: Healthy Aging,” the sixth documentary in Nashville Public Television’s NPT Reports: Aging Matters series, explores the pursuit of health and well-being as we age.

HealthyAging MantleTitle“Aging Matters: Healthy Aging” premieres Thursday, November 19, at 8 p.m. and will be followed by a discussion recorded earlier in our studio with panelists Janet Jernigan, executive director of FiftyForward; Carol Orsborn, co-author of The Spirituality of Age: A Seeker’s Guide to Growing Older; and William M. Petrie, M.D., director of Vanderbilt University Medical Center’s Geriatric Psychiatry Outpatient Program. All three panelists are featured in the documentary.

“In general, quality of life increases with age with two important provisos: No. 1, you don’t get sick; and No. 2, you retain your cognitive abilities,” Dr. Petrie says in the documentary.

Janet Jernigan concurs. “There is a very close connection between health status and quality of life,” she says in the film. “In fact, the research shows that people don’t consider themselves as old until their health starts to fail, whatever age that is.”

“Aging Matters: Healthy Aging” features Middle Tennesseans who are trying to stay fit, manage chronic conditions and remain socially engaged in their senior years. We hear from a 64-year old runner for whom the benefits of training outweigh the pain and possibility of injury, and from a man who found a renewed sense of purpose as a foster grandparent through a FiftyForward program. Medical and other experts interviewed in the film discuss the challenges of managing one’s health when the effects of the habits and circumstances of a lifetime start to compound with age.

“Aging Matters: Healthy Aging” was produced by Will Pedigo, who produced the previous documentary in the series – “Aging Matters: Aging in Place” – as well as programs in NPT’s “Children’s Health Crisis” and “Next Door Neighbors” series.

Additional broadcast times for Aging Matters: Healthy Aging” are below; the documentary will also be available for online viewing on our website,, immediately after the premiere.

  • Tuesday, November 24, at 11 p.m. on NPT
  • Saturday, December 26, at 9 p.m. on NPT2
  • Sunday, December 27, at 5 p.m. on NPT2
  • Sunday, December 27, at 10:30 p.m. on NPT

The NPT Reports: Aging Matters series is hosted by Grammy-winning singer and songwriter Kathy Mattea. “Aging Matters: Healthy Aging” is made possible by the generous support of Cigna-HealthSpring, the West End Home Foundation, the HCA Foundation and the Jeanette Travis Foundation and The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee.

‘NPT Reports: Choice or Chance?’ Premieres Thursday, Oct. 29

The ability of parents to send their children to schools of their choice is at the heart of modern-day school reform efforts. But increasingly, public school choice has become a divisive concept, splitting communities among those who want students to attend any school that fits their needs and interests, and those who want a return to neighborhood schools for children who live in the surrounding area.

In NPT Reports: Choice or Chance? – premiering Thursday, October 29, at 8 p.m. – NPT looks at school choice in Nashville, how it has evolved and what it means to students, parents and our community. The documentary will be followed at 8:30 p.m. by a town hall discussion recorded earlier this month in our studios.

Producer LaTonya Turner moderating NPT's Oct. 13, 2015, town hall discussion on school choice.

Producer LaTonya Turner moderating NPT’s Oct. 13, 2015, town hall discussion on school choice.

Produced by veteran journalist LaTonya Turner, NPT Reports: Choice or Chance? grew out of conversations NPT held with parents, teachers, Metro Nashville Public Schools officials, education researchers and other stakeholders over the past several months. It is the latest project and our third documentary completed as part of the multiyear American Graduate: Let’s Make It Happen public media initiative.

In this 30-minute program, we hear from a public school advocate who says having a choice is causing her to look at all options to find the best middle school for her daughter. Middle school principals discuss the challenges of retaining students when magnet schools, charter programs and private schools compete with zoned schools.

NPT Reports: Choice or Chance? also considers whether there is a positive correlation between school choice and student performance and how preferences for neighborhood schools sometimes leads to division among race and/or socioeconomic lines.

Additional broadcast times for NPT Reports: Choice or Chance? are Monday, November 2, at 8 a.m. and Tuesday, November 3, at 1 p.m. on NPT2; and Thursday, November 5, at 11 p.m. on NPT. The documentary will also be available for viewing on our website,


About American Graduate: American Graduate: Let’s Make it Happen is public media’s long-term commitment to supporting community-based solutions to help young people success in school and life. Supported by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), more than 100 public television and radio stations have joined forces with over 1,400 partners across 40 states to elevate the stories of our youth and the supportive adults that help them succeed. Through American Graduate, public media, with its unique position as a trusted resource and important part of local communities, provides a critical platform to shine a light on pathways to graduation and successful student outcomes. National and local reporting, both on air and online is helping communities understand the challenges and community-driven solutions associated with the dropout crisis. Public forums, town halls, and community conversations are activating discussions between community leaders, educators, and more.

About CPB: The Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), a private, nonprofit corporation created by Congress in 1967, is the steward of the federal government’s investment in public broadcasting. It helps support the operations of more than 1,400 locally-owned and -operated public television and radio stations nationwide, and is the largest single source of funding for research, technology, and program development for public radio, television and related online services.

American Graduate Day 2015 is Oct. 3

American Graduate Day 2015 returns this fall for its fourth consecutive year. Soledad O’Brien will host the all-day broadcast which airs 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 3, on Nashville Public Television. Broadcast and streamed live from the Tisch WNET Studios at Lincoln Center in New York City, the annual multiplatform event is part of the public media initiative, American Graduate: Let’s Make It Happen, helping communities bolster graduation rates through the power and reach of local public media stations.

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Featuring seven hours of national and local programming, live interviews and performances, American Graduate Day 2015 will celebrate the exceptional work of individuals and groups across the country who are American Graduate Champions helping local youth stay on track to college and career successes.

During the half-hour programming blocks, NPT will broadcast a series of original short videos highlighting Middle Tennessee high school students and people who work with them. “Student Voices” videos are brief, but powerful because they feature high schoolers sharing their challenges and triumphs in their own words.

American Graduate Day 2015 will be anchored by “Stories of Champions,” a series of 14 one-minute profile pieces scheduled to air every half hour, which will spotlight individuals and influential figures in local communities around the country who are successfully keeping students on the path to graduation. The broadcast and online event will be divided into 14 half-hour blocks featuring a mix of live breaks and pre-taped partner segments that spotlight the organizations reinvigorating communities around the country and illustrate how they provide support, advice, and intervention services to at-risk students, families, and schools.

This year’s broadcast will also feature seven mini-documentaries that highlight the extraordinary work organizations are doing across the nation. NPT’s “American Graduate Champions” videos also spotlight local institutions and individuals working with students to help then stay in school and go on to lead productive adult lives. Click the links to view NPT’s “Champions” and “Student Voices” videos, or watch for them on-air.

More information about NPT’s American Graduate work is available here:

Teens Share Their Stories in ‘Student Voices’ Videos

Nashville Public Television’s “Student Voices” videos are brief, but powerful because they feature high schoolers sharing their challenges and triumphs in their own words. The series of 20 short videos are being produced by NPT associate producer Shawn Anfinson as part of the American Graduate: Let’s Make it Happen initiative supporting community-based solutions to the dropout crisis.

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The “Student Voices” videos are available on NPT’s YouTube channel. We’ll also spotlight one video each week on Facebook and Twitter.

Anfinson meets one-on-one with perspective students – identified with the help of school administrators and teachers – to discuss his goals for the videos, then has follow-up meetings to film the students. “It’s a mistake to lump every at-risk kid into the same category,” Anfinson said. The problems they face are as individual as they are.

In one video, a teen talks about juggling a 30-hour workweek, school and fatherhood. In another, a teen’s career choice is an inspired counter to having growing up feeling judged because of her learning disability. Many of the “Student Voices” kids have worked through the obstacles they’ve faced and are experiencing a turnaround in their lives and grades; others are still looking for solutions – and that’s also an important message to send.

“They’re sharing their most private and personal stories,” Anfinson said, and in doing so, they’re helping people inform their decisions about kids in similar circumstances.

“At the end of the day, graduating from high school is an intentional act” for these students, Anfinson said. “They have to want it; they really have to intend to graduate.”

New ‘NPT Reports: Aging Matters’ documentary premieres May 28

Ask most people and they’ll say they would prefer to remain in their own homes as they age; in other words, they want to age in place. But doing so is fraught with challenges such as climbing stairs, reaching upper cabinets, bathing safely, etc. There are also concerns about the surrounding community: Is there transportation; are there activities and social gatherings to make life enjoyable?

AgingInPlace MantleTitleThe fifth documentary in Nashville Public Television’s NPT Reports: Aging Matters series examines what it takes for Tennesseans to successfully age in place. Aging Matters: Aging in Place will look at challenges and solutions through conversations with Tennesseans facing these decisions now.

Aging Matters: Aging in Place premieres Thursday, May 28, at 8 p.m. and will be followed by a panel discussion on related topics.

In the documentary, we look at the village movement model in Sewanee, Tennessee, where a cooperative non-profit is helping community members stay in their homes. We will see a national senior transportation model at work in Lexington, Kentucky. Viewers will also learn how a North Nashville neighborhood association is trying to fill in the gaps for elder residents. Lastly, we will learn what happens when a family reaches the limits of caring for a loved one at home.

“This latest program starts a conversation that will get us thinking about what is possible and what we can expect as we age,” said NPT producer Will Pedigo. “We can then create the kind of community that will make living at home feasible.”

Pedigo co-produced the previous documentary in the series – “Aging Matters: Economics of Aging” – and also produced programs in NPT’s “Children’s Health Crisis” and “Next Door Neighbors” series.

The NPT Reports: Aging Matters series is hosted by Grammy-winning singer and songwriter Kathy Mattea. Aging Matters: Aging in Place is made possible by the generous support of Cigna-Healthspring, the West End Home Foundation, the HCA Foundation and the Jeanette Travis Foundation.

Additional broadcast times for Aging Matters: Aging in Place are below; the documentary will also be available for viewing on our website,

Monday, June 1, 8 a.m. on NPT2
Tuesday, June 2, 1 p.m. on NPT2
Saturday, June 6, 7 p.m. on NPT2
Sunday, June 7, 8 a.m. on NPT2
Sunday, June 7, 3 p.m. on NPT2
Friday, June 26, 7 p.m. on NPT



Meet American Graduate Champions who are making a difference

An American Graduate Champion commits his or her time, skills and resources to make sure young people succeed.

Meet five people who are doing just that here in the Nashville area:

Carol Cubillo-Seals started a fundraising drive to provide college scholarships to Latino students who graduate high school.

Dr. Ron Woodard is making an impact on college opportunities for students at Maplewood High School, where he is principal.

Dr. Deborah Smith is a middle school math teacher who serves as a mentor and role model to girls interested in STEM classes and careers.

Khalat Hama is a Kurdish Achievers volunteer who encourages Kurdish youth, especially girls, to stay in school.

Paul Andrews is a volunteer ESL teacher who works with students of Karen refugee families in Smyrna, Tennessee.

We’ve featured each of these American Graduate Champions in a short video; watch all five videos here.

Do you know an American Graduate Champion? Click to nominate yourself or someone else to Become a Champion.



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What will our next ‘American Graduate’ documentary be about?




What will NPT’s third documentary for the “American Graduate: Let’s Make it Happen” project be about? That’s up to you because the topic will come from members of the local community.

Jo Ann Scalf, NPT’s Senior Director of Education & Community Engagement, is currently holding community engagement discussions with parent groups, educators and other members of the community to discover their thoughts on education. In the discussions, Scalf asks general and open-ended questions in order to jump-start, but not direct, the conversation.

“People start talking about things they care about” and they began to reveal the challenges and aspirations of trying to educate the community’s children, Scalf said. The sessions—usually with established groups who already hold regular meetings—are confidential and off-the-record.

Producers will use the insight gained from Scalf’s meetings when determining the focus of NPT’s next “American Graduate” documentary. At that point, the process starts again as the producers begin in-depth research on the chosen topic.

Keep watching and reading for details on NPT’s “American Graduate” projects.


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East Nashville parents at a January 2015 meeting.

Elaine Fahrner Remembered as a Champion for Graduation

NPT mourns the passing of Elaine Fahrner, who was an original American Graduate Champion. She was a dedicated and determined advocate for every student and saw great potential in everyone.  NPT was privileged to partner with her on the American Graduate: Let’s Make It Happen initiative, focusing on improving the graduation rate—a passion of Elaine’s.  Her example will continue to inspire and motivate us all.

Elaine was featured in her role as Principal of the Academy at Old Cockrill in one of NPT’s Southern Education Desk Reports, for her work getting her students through to graduation. See link below.

Posted in American Graduate NPT Reports by Kevin Crane. No Comments

Staggering Domestic Violence Stats from Latest NPT Reports Special | Premieres March 29


Our latest public affairs documentary, NPT Reports: Domestic Violence: Living in Fear, premieres Friday, March 29 at 8:00. Here are some staggering statistics from the show. Please consider sharing this graphic. If you or someone you know has questions or is a victim of domestic violence, please call the Domestic Violence 24-hour Crisis & Information Hotline: 615-242-1199 or 800-334-4628.

Domestic Violence Statistics



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Posted in Domestic Violence by Kevin Crane. 2 Comments

NPT Reports: Education Leaders Talk School Safety at Statewide Summit

State leaders and school officials across Tennessee gathered this week to weigh in on a pressing issue in wake of the Newtown, Connecticut school shooting—how can we make schools safer?

“I am a father of a second grade teacher and when I heard the stories about the teachers huddled in classrooms with their kids, like any other parent I picture my daughter huddling there with her eight and nine year olds. And so the discussion becomes particularly relevant and personal for all of us,” Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam said to attendees at the school safety summit.

“Tell me from what you do, everyday, what are the things that we can do that will make a difference?”

The audience was made up of representatives of more than 120 school districts. They shared best practices and heard from state agencies including mental health officials, emergency management, and homeland security.

“The governor’s message is that all of our schools have continuously been working on our security protocols but this is a time to improve…It’s our responsibility to really look at our security plans and really work on making adjustments,” said Tony Majors, Assistant Superintendant of Student Services for Metro Nashville Public Schools .

And thoughts on what adjustments should be made vary. There have been talks in Tennessee to introduce legislation that would require all schools to have an armed staff member of some kind. Governor Haslam says he will review the legislation when it is introduced, but for now, is looking at other options.

“I don’t think the answer for us is necessarily to rush in and say, well we’re going to put SROs [school resource officers] everywhere. I actually met with the sheriff’s office last week and we talked about that and they said you know our problem with that is, when we come to a school we’re looking for the adult with the weapon. And now our folks coming in we have an issue, they’re not just looking for ‘here’s the guy with the gun, that’s the bad guy’, it’s a little bit more difficult for them. So I think there’s questions in my mind about how practical that would be,” said Haslam.

Metro Nashville Public Schools has already gotten the ball rolling on increasing security measures in schools, including placing surveillance cameras in all elementary schools, installing standard locking mechanisms on all classroom doors, and requiring stricter identification procedures for visitors.

Governor Haslam also shared parts of his budget proposal for the coming year, which includes 34 million dollars towards capital improvements in schools across the state. This money can be used towards increased security but that will be left up to individual school districts to decide.