Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Something Within Me|
This heartening, inspiring 1993 documentary by Emma Joan Morris makes a strong case for synergy between a child's education in the arts and his or her facility with the classic three R's. Morris--who won three awards from ... more »
Similarly Requested DVDs
earthville | Oakland, CA | 10/23/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Tells a story that everyone who cares about our children and their futures needs to watch. There *are* alternatives that work, and creativity is one of the cornerstones. This film shows one such working example."
"Learning Not Just Sitting In A Classroom"
Susan K. Schoonover | Boulder, CO | 06/12/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This 1993 documentary does an excellent job of showing the miraculous accomplishments of St. Augustine's School of the Arts. In 1985 St. Augustine's, located in a very tough area of the infamous South Bronx, was a failing school faced with probable closure by the Catholic archdiocese. As a last resort the school changed its focus to one where music and the arts were as important in the curriculum as reading and math with stunningly positive results. Interviews with enthusiastic students and faculty as well as some remarkable film of real learning taking place in the school well illustrate the school's success.
An interesting component of the school is no auditions or special musical skills are needed to attend the school as the administrators feel all students have talent. The kids at this K-8 school all wear uniforms (the boys white shirts and ties) and a genuine feeling of respect and community is demonstrated by students and teachers in the classes. The middle school jazz band is particularly impressive and the improvisation inherent in this type of music seems to really serve as a creative outlet for the students. Religious studies are taught but instead of being an indoctrination in to the Roman Catholic church it seems to be more of a values class covering topics more often discussed in health education in more traditional schools.
The film is now almost fifteen years old and I admit I was curious to know if St. Augustine's is still thriving so I did a little web research. Apparently a fire a few months after the film was released caused some serious setbacks but the St. Augustine School of the Arts website is currently up and active and their mission and focus remain the same as when the documentary was filmed. A quote from one of last year's eighth grade graduates seems to sum up the philosophy of the school both currently and in the past. The student states, "I am actually learning not just sitting in a classroom." Hopefully all students will be able to make such a statement some day."