School Guide Video Launch Block Party a Smashing Success!
Community members who love Hamilton Schools turned out in droves at UnifiEd’s offices last Saturday, April 1 for a block party to celebrate the premier of the first 28 videos in the Public School Guide video series. Updates to every school’s Public School Guide were launched this weekend with 2017 data, and the first round of completed school videos were added to their respective Guides to help tell the unique story of each school beyond stats and test scores. Video production continues across the county, and each school will have their own video showcasing the great things happening in their classrooms over the next year.
“The first generation of our school guides provided information on all Hamilton County public schools including demographics, test scores, and classroom offerings. They did a great job of providing quantitative data, but we know numbers don’t tell the full story of these schools,” says Jonas Barriere, UnifiEd Executive Director. “The video project is a way of telling stories and highlighting achievements in our schools in a way that statistics don’t capture.”
The block party drew approximately 400 teachers, families, students, administrators, school board members, and members of the community to celebrate our schools. “The turnout demonstrated to me that people who are involved in public education are eager to celebrate our schools and the PEOPLE inside them,” says Abby Garrison, Executive Director of video project partner Causeway. The organization granted funds to Katie Smith, a Battle Academy parent, to create a school video series.
“The whole reason we chose Katie as a winner of the Causeway Challenge was because she wanted to tell a story about what’s really happening inside the school’s walls, and all the heart and the innovative programming and the uniqueness of each school.” Garrison adds, “I’ve always thought Chattanooga was a glass half-full kind of city, with an inherent yet gritty optimism. And to me, the video project embodies that.”
The grown-ups at the block party spent time interacting with the Public School Guide on tablets in the office lobby, comparing and contrasting student body make-up, academic achievement, and class offerings among schools. They were encouraged to leave thank-you notes to teachers, share written feedback on posters about what makes a great teacher, and what our students deserve.
The most thought- and discussion-provoking station explained the difference between equality and equity in our schools, and asked attendees to envision equity in our schools. They wrote Post-it note responses to what that would look like for our community and then added their sticky-note voice to an interactive art exhibit spelling out “I love HC Schools” on a wall facing McCallie Ave.
Meanwhile the kids were outside getting their faces painted, decorating giant Jenga blocks, making sidewalk chalk art, playing cornhole, and getting messy with popcorn and ice cream. Many of the students featured in the school videos attended with their families to get a first glimpse at their cinematic debuts.