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Oyler: One School, One Year

2015
Distributed by The Video Project, 145 - 9th St., Suite 102, San Francisco, CA 94103; 800-475-2638

Directed by Amy Scott
DVD , color, 26 min.
High School - General Adult
Education, Poverty, Teachers, Teenagers, Urban Areas


Reviewed by Linda Frederiksen, Washington State University, Vancouver, WA

Recommended   
 
Date Entered: 10/18/2016

A product of the reauthorized No Child Left Behind Act of 2002, the 21st Century Community Learning Centers (CLC) program is a federally-funded, state-administered initiative. Originally designed to provide after school academic support to PK-12th grade students attending high-poverty and low-performing public schools, these community schools also offer other enrichment and social support services to the families of participating children.

Oyler Community Learning Center in urban Cincinnati, OH, is an example of how effectively addressing the basic health, social, and nutritional needs of their students may also improve educational outcomes. Once having one of the highest illiteracy rates in the nation, with an abysmal 14% graduation rate, since becoming a CLC Oyler has seen slow gains in test scores, graduation rates, and first generation college applications.

Produced in association with American Public Media Marketplace, a nationally distributed public radio program, the film follows several adults and students through a difficult year at Oyler. Truancy, stagnant reading and math test scores, along with a budget crisis and contract renewal disputes occupy Principal Craig Hockenberry, while senior Raven Gribbins struggles to become of the first one in her family to finish high school and attend college. Although community schools like Oyler may not be the only or best answer to the deep-rooted connection of poverty to educational outcomes, director Scott does an admirable job of presenting one possible option for failing schools through the personal stories of two of its participants.