Can a school save a community?
OYLER profiles how an innovative "community school" helped fuel a dramatic turnaround in a poverty-stricken neighborhoods, part of a growing national movement to help poor children succeed by transforming schools to meet basic health, social, and nutritional needs.
Before 2006, very few kids from the Lower Price Hill area in Cincinnati finished high school, much less went to college. The neighborhood is Urban Appalachian — an insular community with roots in the coal mining towns of Kentucky and West Virginia. The local Oyler School only went through 8th grade. After that, rather than ride the bus out of the neighborhood for high school, most kids dropped out.
Under long-time Principal Craig Hockenberry’s leadership, Oyler School was transformed into a “community learning center,” serving kids from preschool through 12th grade. Oyler is now open year-round, from early morning until late at night. The school provides breakfast, lunch and dinner, and sends hungry kids home with food on weekends. Students can walk down the hall to access a health clinic, vision center, and mental health counseling.
Oyler's students are now graduating from high school and matriculating to college in record numbers. Oyler has graduated more students in the neighborhood from high school in the recent years than in the collective 85 prior years
Based on the award-winning Marketplace radio series "One School, One Year," OYLER takes viewers through a year at the school, focusing on Hockenberry’s mission to transform a community, and on senior Raven Gribbins’ quest to be the first in her troubled family to finish high school and go to college.
Produced in association with American Public Media's Marketplace.
Reviews & AwardsBest of 2016, Science Books and Films
BROADCAST ON PUBLIC TELEVISION
“Starred Review. An unsentimental view of how a committed, innovative school can transform a community... it will spark discussions about how schools can better meet the needs of students and prepare them for success, despite bureaucracy and poverty. Social studies classes will find many discussion topics that impact student success.”
– School Library Journal
"How do schools succeed in neighborhoods of concentrated poverty? They do more than just teach. Oyler is a remarkable film, a candid portrait of one school’s struggles to provide its students with the opportunities that every American student deserves. It’s a valuable resource for educators, community groups, and anyone who cares about our schools."
- Paul Tough, author, Helping Children Succeed
“A quiet, brutal, and hopeful one-hour documentary. Oyler: One School, One Year illustrates the district’s innovative, holistic approach to mitigating the devastating impacts of concentrated poverty..... Oyler is on the cutting edge of where schools need to go if they are to successfully navigate paradigm shifts in what U.S. public education is about and what we are asking our schools to accomplish."
– Elaine Weiss, National Coordinator, Broader Bolder Approach to Education (Published in the Washington Post)
"The Community Learning Center concept is galvanizing the national consciousness and has catapulted Cincinnati to the forefront of the conversation. Amy Scott’s documentary captures the communal character of Oyler."
"This candid video takes viewers on a personalized 184-day tour of school events, including Hockenberry’s efforts to build academic success and one student’s quest to finish high school and attend college. Comments from educators, students, and parents emphasize the role the school plays in the community."
“Recommended. Director Scott does an admirable job of presenting one possible option for failing schools through the personal stories of two of its participants.”
– Educational Media Reviews Online
"Highly Recommended. A challenging case study of embattled public education."
– Video Librarian
"Editor's Choice. Highly Recommended. Communicates its story effectively, a story of individuals lost when academics discuss American schools in general or when government reduces a school’s value to averages of standardized test results."
– Science Books and Films (AAAS)
SXSWedu Film Program
Cincinnati Film Festival
Austin Film Festival
Columbus International Film Festival
Rocky Mountain Women’s Film Festival
Sebastopol Documentary Film Festival
Chagrin Documentary Film Festival
Chicago International Social Change Film Festival