A series of short films about Hamilton County public schools will debut this weekend.
UnifiEd will host a video launch block party for the 28 films this Saturday at 3:30 p.m.
The event will take place at 1609 McCallie Ave. Admission is free, and activities include screenings of the films, games, crafts, ice cream, music and more.
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The series of films is intended to highlight each Hamilton County school and expand on the Hamilton County Public School Guide that was published last year.
"The first generation of our school guides provided information on all Hamilton County public schools, including demographics, test scores and classroom offerings," Jonas Barriere, UnifiEd executive director, said in a prepared statement. "They did a great job of providing quantitative data, but we know numbers don’t tell the full story of these schools. The video project is a way of telling stories and highlighting achievements in our schools in a way that statistics don’t capture."
While the creators of the guide hope to change the negative stigma that surrounds Chattanooga schools, they also hope it will lead people to get involved in public education initiatives.
"We want community members to use the information in the school guide and videos to gain a realistic understanding of their public schools’ accomplishments, challenges and needs for support," said Ashley Conrad, director of policy and research at UnifiEd. "I hope these videos spur conversations and ultimately get more people engaged as advocates dedicated to ensuring all of our students have access to the resources they need to be successful."
In the next few months, creators will continue to make videos of Hamilton County schools.
Battle Academy parent Katie Smith worked with Causeway to create a school guide featuring videos with insight into the culture of the schools. When she found out UnifiEd had already made a school guide, the two organizations collaborated to create a more comprehensive guide.
"One of our goals at Causeway is to create connections between passionate community members and local organizations who can help kick-start their ideas," said Abby Garrison, Causeway executive director. "We are so pleased with the partnership that has formed between Katie’s idea to build a Chattanooga school guide and the work UnifiEd is already doing in the community."
Many students were able to preview the videos before the debut.
"I really enjoyed watching the video for the elementary school I attended," D'Andre Anderson, a senior at Central High School, said. "It encouraged me to be proud of where I came from, as well as appreciate the new opportunities available to students currently attending that school."