Last month I began shooting for a documentary tentatively titled “Beyond American Falls” it has been interesting so far and I look forward to following the development of the story. Here is a little bit more about the project.
Independent documentary examining the middle-school math crisis filming at Hollenbeck Middle School and Thurgood Marshall Leadership Academy
Taos, NM — Jennifer Harris, CFO & Producer of Imagine Education announced that Imagine Education will be shooting footage for the documentary film Beyond American Falls (working title) in Los Angeles on Thursday, December 15 and Friday, December 16. Filming will take place at Hollenbeck Middle School in East Los Angeles, part of the Los Angeles Unified School District, and at Thurgood Marshall Leadership Academy Middle School in South Los Angeles, an ICEF Public School.
Beyond American Falls is an independent documentary examining the sudden drop in math scores and competency seen as U.S. students transition from elementary school into middle and high schools. From a global perspective, U.S. students typically score above average in elementary school, yet the U.S. ranks in the bottom tier of math scores for 15 year-old students. Numerous studies have attributed this dramatic drop in competency to a “crowded curriculum” that’s “a mile wide and an inch deep.” Despite these concerns, middle school math curriculum has yet to truly change.
Schools featured in the documentary are trying innovative techniques to engage students in mathematics to achieve a more comprehensive understanding of the subject. Both of the Los Angeles schools being featured are part of a pilot project using a story-based online math game, Ko’s Journey, created by Imagine Education (www.kosjourney.com).
Ko’s Journey is a 12 hour web-based math program that targets the most important concepts of 5th – 7th grade math, based on a classroom teaching model with four consecutive years of data showing over 80% gains on state test proficiency with low-income minority students. Ko’s Journey represents an important change in the approach to teaching middle school math: it circumvents the emotions students have for math by using something even more powerful . . . a story.
Hailed as “The Oregon Trail of Math Games,” Ko’s Journey is already being used by over 3,000 students in public, private, charter, virtual and home schools. “Ko’s Journey is unique in that it comes directly from the classroom,” notes Scott Laidlaw, Ed.D., creator of Ko’s Journey and co-founder of Imagine Education. “And, it’s the first math game where math truly makes conceptual sense within the story.”
Support for the documentary and the pilot project has been provided as part of a Next Generation Learning Challenges grant, funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation.
About Imagine Education
Contact: Jennifer Harris, 801-718-4779
Imagine Education is a self-funded startup established by Scott Laidlaw, Ed.D. and Jennifer Harris, CPA who blended the worlds of education and business to create a dynamic story-based game company focused on K-12 mathematics.