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OPB’s New “Class of 2025” Podcast Digs Deep into Challenges Facing Elementary Students

Podcast offered in both English and Spanish expands OPB’s “Class of 2025” multimedia series

OPB today announced the launch of a new podcast “Class of 2025,” which offers an in-depth exploration of some of the challenges and opportunities facing public school students and teachers today, seen through the lens of the students themselves.  

“Class of 2025” is offered in both English and Spanish language versions, and is now available for download in the Apple iTunes store, in the NPR One app, on the OPB website and wherever podcasts are available.  

The new podcast is an extension of OPB’s multimedia news series “Class of 2025,” which began in 2012 after the state of Oregon pledged to graduate 100 percent of students by 2025. The ongoing OPB series follows a group of children in Portland from kindergarten as they started their educational journey toward high school, tracking their real-life progress, setbacks and successes along the way.  

The first season of the “Class of 2025” podcast features six, 20-minute episodes hosted by OPB reporters Rob Manning and Roxy De La Torre. They introduce listeners to parents, teachers and the students hoping to graduate in 2025.    

Each episode follows one or two kids—now entering fifth grade—through a challenge they face as public school students. The episodes dig deep into a variety of difficult issues—from learning disabilities and language barriers, to homelessness and immigration policy. It showcases the personalities, warmth and potential of the children whom OPB has followed for the last five years, such as Shelby’s sense of humor, Austin’s positive attitude, or Ethan’s resilience.  

“Class of 2025” episodes include:

Episode 1: Who Cares About Math When You Don’t Have a Home?

Students have a hard time focusing on school if they don’t have a stable place to call home. This episode follows Class of 2025 student Ethan as he’s pulled out of class— and the school he loves—as homelessness forces his family from a motel room to a shelter.  

Episode 2: I Don’t Speak The Same Language As My Parents

One out of ten students in Oregon schools are not fluent English speakers. If they don’t master English by high school, they’re far less likely to graduate. This episode focuses on Class of 2025 student Ashley, as she learns English and tries not to lose her Spanish in the process.  

Episode 3: I Felt I Just Wasn’t As Smart As Everybody Else

Students with learning disabilities have struggled to progress through school for decades. States have increased their focus in recent years on disabilities like dyslexia. Meet Class of 2025 student Shelby and her efforts to become a better reader.  

Episode 4: I Already Learned This

How should schools teach students who are way ahead of the pack, like Class of 2025 students Anna and Johnathan? Should these “Talented and Gifted” students attend special programs? Or should regular classroom teachers do more to tailor their lessons for those students?  

Episode 5: Is Your Brain A Muscle Or A Machine?

Is your mind more like a muscle that you can build? Or a machine that does some things well, and others not at all? Welcome to Class of 2025’s exploration of “mindsets,” as viewed through students Austin and Jason.  

Episode 6: Calling School A ‘Sanctuary’

What should schools do when a politically charged issue like immigration scares students? We’ll hear the concerns of Class of 2025 Latino students, teachers and parents.  

OPB’s “Class of 2025” reporting is part of “American Graduate – Let’s Make It Happen!”—a public media initiative to address the dropout crisis—supported by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.  

For more information about the “Class of 2025” multimedia series, including news reporting, student profiles, videos and photos, visit

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