If you’re looking for something evidence-backed and a little apart from the ordinary to spark honest, necessary conversations, build urgency, and remind people why their work is so important, an Ed Trust docudrama may be just the catalyst you’ve been seeking.
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Weaving data with narrative drawn from more than 300 interviews with youth, educators, and leaders from higher education, business and industry, American Grit whips into a fever pitch a 100-year-old debate in education about the very role of secondary schools in America and what — and whose — children need to succeed. This docudrama follows cousins Deja and Darnell out the high school doors and deep into a post-industrial America, exposing the fault lines in the rhetoric of college and career readiness “for all” that swallow too many students and shake the very foundation of American Prosperity.
“We brought American Grit into one of our policy retreats to help us surface internal debates and grapple with what college and career readiness for all students really means.”
—Policy director, national education advocacy organization
Speak Unto Us
Based on more than 200 interviews with educators, industry leaders, advocates, parents, and youth in Louisiana, Speak Unto Us follows education policy into practice through the stories of two young men — Tre and Cody — promised a chance through a high school career diploma. But their stories unfold to reveal the human costs of academic under-preparation in a changed America and the dangers of good intentions misaligned.
“So powerful! What a great way to start a conference. I have never experienced a PD that was so informative and passionate.”
—Teacher-Leader and AVID conference attendee
Catalyst is an unflinching portrayal of the power of educators to change students’ lives. Following two young men, Carl and Isaiah, Catalyst takes on the tough questions of student engagement, bringing audiences face to face with some of the most devastating — and inspiring — images of student transformation. Contrasts in student engagement, institutional power, and individual responsibility project from the stage to an audience that may see its own reflection in some of the characters.
“We used Catalyst at a recent symposium on black boys in education. The performance powerfully illustrated much of what was said that day and provided a helpful frame.”
Six Degrees of Preparation
Commissioned by a state body of higher education, Six Degrees of Preparation exposes damaging belief systems and practices in school districts and schools of education, vividly portraying their effect on new teachers and the children they serve. Pulling from more than 300 interviews with teachers, teacher candidates, teacher educators, teacher leaders, and students, Six Degrees brings issues of teacher preparation, support, and retention into stark relief.
“These are issues we really are dealing with. Changing policies around teacher preparation and quality is one thing; changing hearts and minds, that’s tough. We’ve been successful in putting into place, through policy, the infrastructure for change, but we’ve struggled to reach the hearts and minds of our faculties. This show, I believe, does that.”
—School of education dean
Dilated Pupils and the Not-So-Soft Bigotry of a Nation
Dilated Pupils and the Not-So-Soft Bigotry of a Nation takes audiences on a whirlwind tour through the high school doors, past the metal detectors, straight into the lives of three high school students. The show powerfully illustrates the devastating effect of low expectations on student achievement, and the need for change now.
“We were struggling to get our principals all on board with change efforts. Using Dilated Pupils at our principal retreat took all the hemming and hawing out of the room so we could move ahead with the actual work.”— District leader
“I was that guy. I was one of those teachers. I am going to go back to my classroom tomorrow, and I am going to do some things differently.” —Teacher, New Orleans public schools
“This performance is transformative. You can pull a bunch of people together and ask them to change but they need a metaphor for that change. This is that metaphor.”
—High school counselor, Massachusetts
Buzz: Defying Expectations and Other Lessons from the Bumblebee
A testimony to hope, hard work, and high expectations, Buzz chronicles the educational struggles, and ultimate triumphs, of educators who defy perceptions about what high-poverty schools — and students — can do.
“We needed an inspirational presenter for our fall state conference to remind our people how important our work is — and how urgent.”