Duval Schools hosts documentary screening to gain support for low performing schools

Jan. 6, 2020- It’s Superintendent Dr. Diana Greene’s priority to make sure every school within the district is excelling academically, and for each student to know they are loved.

“It’s simple. We have to love them with all of the challenges that they bring. We have to love them even when it seems like they’re not loving us back. We still have to love them even when they may not understand truly what we do for them,” said Dr. Greene

Dr. Greene invited students, parents, and various stakeholders to a community screening of “Love Them First: Lessons from Lucy Laney Elementary School.”

“This documentary talks about an elementary school that is in a high poverty and urban community, that reflects many of our elementary schools that are in our urban core,” said Dr. Greene.

A Minneapolis news station spent hundreds of hours covering Lucy Laney. The emotional documentary shares the story the principal and her staff fighting to meet the needs of their students and to get their school off of a low performing schools list.

“I felt the passion of that principal exudes through that documentary and it reminded me of principals that we have here in Duval County and children that we serve,” said Dr. Greene.

Twenty-one schools in Duval County also share a spot on Florida’s low performing schools list.

“I’ll be honest I hate the list. That’s the way I feel walking out of there, the list does not reflect what’s going on,” said parent, Teri Blackman.

“It was emotionally packed for me, I was able to live kind vicariously through this young principal as I live like this every day. To see that, here we have students that are coming from impoverished areas, kids who have different situations, and they really just need to be understood and they need to be supported,” said Vincent Hall, Raines High School Principal.

Dr. Greene brought together a panel of students, principals, and local education leaders to discuss how to establish better support for these schools and the vulnerable students who live in these communities.

“I think it will change the conversation because you’re seeing firsthand what really truly happens in the classroom or in the schools every day, and we have to get the word out to the community and parents to let them know so they can be more involved,” said Timothy Sloan, parent.

“Get involved. If you will invest in a child, you’ll see a reward from it,” said Douglas Blackmon, parent.

Dr. Greene asked for members of the community to step and show more support for the students who attend the struggling schools.

“The support we’re asking for is not a huge monetary gift. The support we’re asking for is mentoring, volunteering. Yes, if you can contribute monetarily to things that we aren’t able to use taxpayer dollars for to help continue to support our schools,” Dr. Greene said.

To learn more about supporting Duval schools, contact our office of family engagement at www.duvalschools.org/face.

Many schools who are striving to succeed academically exist in areas where opportunities for business and community partnerships are scarce. To watch the documentary visit www.lovethemfirst.com.