PCI-Media Impact and W.K. Kellogg Foundation Team Up To Tackle Issues In New York City Schools

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PCI-Media Impact and W.K. Kellogg Foundation Team Up To Tackle Issues In New York City Schools

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Press Release
Thursday, March 15, 2012 - 5:25pm

(3BL Media) March 15, 2012 - The W.K. Kellogg Foundation has partnered with PCI-Media Impact (“Media Impact”) through a $185,000 grant to support work to empower at-risk students to take ownership of their education and school environment in New York City classrooms through the innovative My School – My Community program. 

New York City is the largest school district in the world, serving more than one million students a year in more than 1,700 public schools.  The district contains some of the country’s poorest performing schools.  Coupled with challenges at home and in communities, low student engagement in these underperforming schools and a lack of student representation in decision-making processes have played a role.   The city-wide four-year graduation rate is 63%, though only 21.4% of graduates are deemed college-ready, according to Department of Education data. 

My School-My Community uses Entertainment-Education to address the issues of student engagement and representation in leadership teams by providing a platform from which they can begin to tackle obstacles to learning with their own voices.  Entertainment-Education programs incorporate vital information into entertaining media to simultaneously affect and engage audiences, often around sensitive issues, offering positive role models and constructive ways to address pressures in kids’ lives. 

With the support of the W. K. Kellogg Foundation, Media Impact and its partners will put in place an 18-month program to increase the engagement of at-risk students, teachers, and school officials by using student-developed radio/TV programming around issues such as cyber-bullying, teenage pregnancy, and violence.  The program, currently in four schools, aims to increase student engagement in ten to 15 under-resourced urban schools and communities in the 2012-2013 academic year.   

“We are thrilled to partner with the W.K. Kellogg Foundation to expand a proven pilot resource to many more schools in the coming year, and appreciate the Foundation’s strong support,” said Media Impact’s Executive Director Sean Southey.  “Media Impact has been successfully working with partners around the world to create social change through Entertainment-Education for more than 27 years and we are thrilled about the opportunity to do this in our own backyard,” he added.

Students and teachers who participate in My School-My Community receive training and mentoring in Media Impact’s My Community methodology, which guides them through formative research to identify and understand the root causes of issues, and to begin to identify pathways to success.  The program is intentionally thematically neutral so that students can work with representatives of the greater school community to determine the issues that most affect their school using data, focus groups and surveys as a guide. 

Students themselves become agents of change who write and broadcast radio dramas/soap operas and lead interactive dialogue platforms over the school public address system or through video feeds in classrooms, and manage school-wide campaigns to bring an end to issues like racism, violence, gossip, and bullying with school spirit events, friendly competitions, and message-laden t-shirts, posters, and pins.  Student work can generate discussion and “buzz” through various broadcast platforms which, in turn, promotes the growth, empowerment, and engagement of a marginalized community of students and engages key stakeholders (principals, parents, school network personnel, and community partners) in policy conversations around target issues.  The dialogue generated through this process ultimately allows parents, educators, and school administrators to better understand student views and more effectively prevent or respond to problems as they arise. 

“This program isn’t just any learning, but a learning that students can carry over into so many other aspects of their life. Also, it makes them feel good and that they are appreciated in their school,” said Christine Panetta, one of the program’s co-creator and former teacher at the Urban Assembly Academy of Civic Engagement.

Since the initial pilot in 2010, the program has reached nearly 1,500 students at four schools: The Urban Assembly Academy of Civic Engagement, The Urban Assembly School of Business for Young Women, The Urban Assembly School for Green Careers, and The Urban Assembly School for the Performing Arts.  Students who participated in the pilot program demonstrated improved writing skills and assume leadership roles in the school environment.  The program has also successfully served as a teacher-training program, empowering school staff to lead processes of change.  The Urban Assembly is a network of schools that provide New York City students from under-resourced communities opportunities for academic enrichment and community engagement.  The four-year graduation rate for Urban Assembly students is up to 17% higher than the city average. 

 

About PCI-Media Impact
PCI-Media Impact empowers communities worldwide to inspire enduring change through creative storytelling.  For 27 years, Media Impact has worked with local partners to produce Entertainment-Education and social change communications programs that address the most pressing social and environmental issues. Using its unique My Community methodology, Media Impact engages and empowers audiences around the world to improve their own lives.  Working with local partners, Media Impact tells the stories that change the world.

To learn more about Media Impact:

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About the W.K.  Kellogg Foundation
The W.K. Kellogg Foundation (WKKF), founded in 1930 as an independent, private foundation by breakfast cereal pioneer, Will Keith Kellogg, is among the largest philanthropic foundations in the United States. Guided by the belief that all children should have an equal opportunity to thrive, WKKF works with communities to create conditions for vulnerable children so they can realize their full potential in school, work and life. The Kellogg Foundation is based in Battle Creek, Mich., and works throughout the United States and internationally, as well as with sovereign tribes. Special emphasis is paid to priority places where there are high concentrations of poverty and where children face significant barriers to success. WKKF priority places in the U.S. are in Michigan, Mississippi, New Mexico and New Orleans; and internationally, are in Mexico and Haiti. For more information, visit www.wkkf.org.

Contact

Lindsey Wahlstrom
+1 (212) 687-3237ext. 235
PCI-Media Impact