Mt. Airy Schools Coalition’s short film series highlights public school - community connection


While the look and feel of the upcoming school year remains uncertain, one thing in Mt. Airy is always certain: its pride in, and connection to, its public schools.

The Mt. Airy Schools Coalition- a collaborative effort between Mt. Airy CDC, East Mt. Airy Neighbors (EMAN), West Mt. Airy Neighbors (WMAN) and the principals of six Northwest Philadelphia public schools- has put that connection and community pride on full display in a new series of short films highlighting each school.

The six schools featured in this short film series are Anna Blakiston Day School, Elanor C. Emlen School, Charles W. Henry School, Henry H. Houston School, John Story Jenks School, and Anna L. Lingelbach School in that particular order.

“Putting this serious of videos together not only pulls the curtain back on the collaborative work of the Mt. Airy Schools Coalition, but it gives a moment in the spotlight to each of our six public schools and the people who make them work,” Executive Director of Mt. Airy CDC Brad Copeland said. Mt. Airy CDC is the lead partner of the coalition. 

Funded by a grant from the EMAN Community Fund and produced by Mt. Airy-based Green District Media, the short film series began on July 27th and ended August 31st, the first week of school. One video has uploaded every Monday on the Go Mt. Airy FaceBook page and YouTube channel.

The videos are about 10 minutes each and feature not only interviews with principals, but also teachers, students, parents, and staff, providing an in-depth look into how each of the schools operate. The captivating videos invite you to embark on the everyday experience of going to the school, from the first bell to the last. They feature shots of students immersing themselves entirely in the joys of learning. Students are seen studying vigorously in the classroom, being tutored by conscientious, caring teachers, and venturing in the beautiful nature and architecture Northwest Philadelphia has to offer during recess in the cool autumn air.

“There’s this negative narrative about Philly public schools that leads a lot of parents and families to reflexively seek out private, parochial, or charter options for their children’s education,” Gary King, Mt. Airy CDC’s Schools & Literacy Coordinator, said. King is a father of two children attending one of the schools. “This video series was designed to combat mistaken and lingering assumptions people have about their local public schools, and instead highlighting the best of what they have to offer.”

The videos also showcase the schools well-rounded curriculum, positive environment, and tireless literacy initiatives. Each of these are only the tip of the iceberg as to what contributes to the overall allure of Mt. Airy Schools. A big factor is their commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion.

“These videos are an important effort to promote our local public schools as a good choice for all of our children,” EMAN Grants Committee Chair Margaret Salamon said. “Quality integrated schools are necessary and need to be an essential part of our community’s commitment to anti-racism and equity.”

These videos offer more than a glimpse into the vast offerings of Mt. Airy Schools. They exemplify what all the work the schools have done during this uncertain time has meant for the community as a whole.

“We don’t know what the upcoming school year will look like during this pandemic, but our schools’ principals and teachers are showing us the outstanding work that continues to take place in spite of the challenges facing them,” EMAN President Tonyelle Cook-Artis said.

To see the short film series, click either of the following links:

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