Media Mobilizing Project presents the first installment of a three-video series, “Revival From the Roots: A Tour of Philly’s Neighborhood Schools.” The series follows Jerry Jordan, President of the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers, and Helen Gym, parent and award-winning education advocate, as they hear firsthand from students, parents and teachers fighting to turn around public education from the bottom up.
Part one of “Revival From the Roots” – released today – features West Philadelphia, with visits to the school communities at West Philadelphia High, Lea Elementary, Alexander Elementary, Berry Elementary, and the now closed Wilson Elementary School.
After hearing from West Philadelphia community members, Jerry Jordan, President of the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers and West Philadelphia High School Alumnus had this to say, “Really, really listening to the students, and to the teachers, and to the parents tells me that I’ve got to do more to continue to fight with the parents and with the students in order to make this school district and these schools the kinds of schools that were available in Philadelphia when I was a student”.
“Revival From the Roots” shows the powerful, everyday local leadership at work everyday in our schools as well as the challenges our schools face due to lack of resources. Last year’s closing of 24 schools, continued underfunding and service cuts in and out of the classroom, and the ongoing teacher’s contract impasse between the PFT and the district will have prolonged effects on communities throughout Philadelphia. “Revival from the Roots” gives an intimate perspective and sounding board for the discussions taking place on these very topics in neighborhoods across our city.
“We talk about our schools like they’re broken institutions that need to be fixed or discarded, or thrown away, or shut down; and really instead we need to look at them as places of hope and potential, which is exactly what they are”, said
Helen Gym of Parents United after touring schools in West Philadelphia.
In “Revival from the Roots” school community members also share their perspectives and experiences in Philadelphia’s public schools:
“What I love about West is how involved and engaged the teachers are with the students. How they really want us to succeed in life and they are really helping us.” Sierra Mobley, student at West Philadelphia High School.
“Parents are now filling gaps that were never imagined before… We are now regularly bringing paper into the schools, school have funded their secretaries, their counselors, their nurses” – Terrilyn McCormick, Parent at Penn Alexander Elementary School.
“We have always been at the forefront. It’s not us that needs to step up, it’s the politicians…parents have always been there and teachers have always been there” – Maurice Jones, Sr., Parent at Lea Elementary School.
“Revival from the Roots” is produced by the Media Mobilizing Project in collaboration with the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers and Parents United for Public Education. The next two installments of the series are currently in production and will be released throughout the spring. The groups collaborating on the project plan to continue the conversation with a series of community screenings in upcoming months.