In the school district of South Orange & Maplewood, NJ there is a system of student academic placement called "Leveling" by which students are placed in levels 2-5. There has been a heated debate within the community on the effectiveness of this system, with many viewing it as a system that has created racial segregation within the schools.
This documentary focuses on; the pivotal 2011-12 school year in which the school board and administration propose to revise the system, the section of the community that petitions to keep levels, and the students caught in the middle.
This is the prequel to upcoming feature length documentary, "De-leveling the System", where we look at; the district's plans to revise leveling, the community response, systems in other districts and we follow 5 students throughout the school year and get their perspective on academic placement.
Produced & Directed by
Original Music by
An original documentary by Cris Thorne (2006) comparing the positive effects of both the Black Panther Party and the Hip-Hop Movement in the Black Community. We also take a deeper look at how both movements were picked apart.
This is the documentary about the historic '05-'06 school year at Columbia High School in Maplewood, NJ. This follows the actions and emotions of the student body who grew tired of the administration and decided to unite in a Walk-out protest.
In this part CCN was being censored by the School Board, and Black History month was being censored by Principal Pollack.
In this chapter of the documentary we see the Board Meetings, and the infamous Principals Roundtable that split up into two meetings. We also got a preview of what was to come from the early Friday morning protest in front of the Board of Ed building. This was the build-up to the The Walk-Out.
This part of the documentary shows complete coverage of the student Walk-Out. As the protest came to an end we see some who were once opposed to the Walk Out support it. Then of course there was the speech made by Mr. TJ Whitaker.... The year of 2006 was a year of change for CHS. I hope we can look back on this era for inspiration, and proof that when people unite, change is inevitable.