Join students, teachers, and the Hear Me 101 partners on Thursday May 14th at 6pm. Admission is free!
Join students, teachers, and the Hear Me 101 partners on Thursday May 14th at 6pm. Admission is free!
The team’s first stop was the Education Law Center's Philadelphia office, where Hear Me interviewed nine young people from various Philadelphia High Schools.
The students discussed closing schools, adjusting to school mergers, budget cuts, class size, and the benefits of well-funded schools. Listen to these stories here. The night concluded with a group conversation over pizza, where students talked about empty classrooms, transportation, and school administration.
19-year-old filmmaker Jay Frye, who visited Pittsburgh for last year’s Hear Me 101 screening to showcase his own documentary, photographed the visit and shared his stories.
The Hear Me team regrouped in the afternoon at South Philadelphia High School to interview 11 students about resources and funding at their school. Throughout the interviews, many students talked about the importance of their guidance counselor and stressed the need for additional counselors. At SPHS, there is only one guidance counselor appointed to both the junior and senior classes.
In total, Hear Me covered over 600 miles and visited four collection sites in just over 36 hours. Look for all of the stories to be on the Hear Me website soon.
On Sat Nov 8, Hear Me and CREATE Lab hosted the Media Empowerment Student Summit at Carnegie Mellon University to connect youth-serving organizations and youth using media for empowerment and education.
Over 100 people attended the event, including artists, media artists, youth organizers, student councils, youth-adult allies, teachers, parents and 70 students from Pittsburgh Public School District, McKeesport, Quaker Valley, Propel Andrew Street, North Hills, and Steel Valley, among other districts.
Tad Wissel from Saturday Light Brigade broadcasted live from MESS on SLB’s on-air broadcast during breakfast and registration.
The day kicked off with an icebreaker from Learning Instigator Michelle King @LrningInstigatr, who asked participants to use their “superpowers” to connect with each other, both in-person and on social media. Check out https://twitter.com/hashtag/messpgh.
(pictured above: one group spells "YOUTH" for a superpowers challenge)
Participants then broke off into individual sessions.
Students packed the room for the Saturday Light Brigade’s Audio Production workshop, which included radio broadcasting and podcasting. (Listen to their work here!) Afterward, Pittsburgh Filmmakers hosted a skill-based workshop on Animation.
As the day continued, participants learned about youth leaders in civil and educational movements and listened to stories from peer student leaders, like TeenBloc youth or first-time-filmmaker Alexis Werner. In a series of 10-minute talks hosted by Teen Change-Makers, students learned how to organize themselves to challenge school board policies, promote innovative idea-sharing and collaborate with the mayor of Pittsburgh.
During the resource fair at lunch, youth connected with resources providers from:
Attendees also contributed self-portraits to Color Me Pittsburgh’s Race Map (@INCLUDEpgh).
Afternoon sessions gave students the opportunity to have safe, in-depth conversations about youth issues like the transition to college, ISM's and hidden prejudices, and bullying. Professional filmmakers wrapped up the day with a two-hour panel discussion on using documentary filmmaking for a cause, featuring Julie Sokolow, Kirsi Jansa, and Chris Ivey.
(pictured above: 1Hood Media performs at the end of MESS)
The Summit served to empower youth in SWPA to have a voice on big issues, and to build friendships across geographical and institutional borders. Ultimately, building media skills is crucial to teens who see media as a strategy that they can use to create community and school change.
“I have a lot of ideas now (on) how I am going to start making changes in my school,” said Nadirah and Nayelle from McKeesport High School. “I was motivated to make a change to my community. I now know that through media and effective strategies, I can have my voice heard."
Watch some highlights from the MESS here!
*Schedule may be subject to changes.
1. Teens for Change: Funding for Youth-led Social Change Projects
2. "Breaking school policy": Passive Resistance3. Organizing TEDxYouth@HMB
4. Pittsburgh Student Activist Coalition: Mayor Peduto and Youth Policy
Media Literacy: Media Breaker
Does the news reflect your point of view? In this session, we’ll use the LAMP’s Media Breaker to deconstruct what media is and put our own spin on it.
Bullying: real stories, real hopeIn the last decade, students have become more educated about the many facets of bullying and schools have adopted anti-bullying policies and programs. However, for those who have experienced bullying firsthand, an educational program can never quite convey how bullying can change the thoughts, emotions, actions and the very being of those affected. This session will give students the chance to share their stories, both how they hurt and how they healed. They will also engage in discussion about what they believe are the root causes of bullying in their communities and how they can affect change in the future.
Do you feel frustrated with society’s perception of youth? Are you
tired of the negative, stereotypical images of youth that are many times
projected by the media or portrayed in the movies? While most youth are
positive, contributing members of their community, this is not what’s
always seen. In this two part workshop we will explore how you can use
your voice to combat the distorted images fueled by stereotypes,
discrimination and isms (ageism, racism, sexism, and heterosexism). We
· Define the isms
· Share our own experiences
· Discover how other youth across the nation are using their voice
· Develop some strategies for counteracting these ISM
· and connect you to local resources (people, organizations) to help you get your voice heard
Museum: Teen Voices on Race & Identity
Hear from Pittsburgh teens who produced media projects in poetry, film and journalism to document youth experiences of race in Pittsburgh in response to the exhibit "RACE: Are We So Different?" at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History. Come check out our projects, share your story and discuss ideas for creative media as a tool to bring teen voices to the public and explore tough conversations in our communities.
Join professional filmmakers for this two-hour session to learn about documentary filmmaking and social causes. Following presentations on their work, the filmmakers will engage in discussions about youth media-making and take questions in a Q&A. The panel will be moderated by Pittsburgh Filmmakers’ Will Zavala.
Kirsi Jansa is an independent filmmaker and broadcast journalist who has shot all over the world. She will show an excerpt of most recent project, “Gas Rush Stories.”
Julie Sokolow is an award-winning independent filmmaker whose work has appeared at TIME, Huffington Post, and Boing Boing. Currently, Sokolow is directing her first documentary feature, Aspie Seeks Love.
1Hood Media (tentative)
A panel of college students will give the real scoop about transitioning to college, what no one really tells you about financial aid, and navigating new academic models and social groups. This is a youth-only session, sorry!
|TeenBloc, Homeless Children's Education Fund, Port Authority, Outreach & Teen Services, August Wilson Education Project, Jefferson Awards, Center for Victims, PCTV21, Steeltown Entertainment Project, JustHarvest, Center for Adolescent and Young Adult Medicine Center of Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh, PNC Bank, Amachi Pittsburgh, The LABS at Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, Color Me Pittsburgh|
Celebrate youth voice at the Media Empowerment Student Summit on Saturday November 8, 2014.
What is it?
A day long event to celebrate, learn new skills and meet with youth,
artists, and experts. Teens can connect with youth from Greater
Pittsburgh to celebrate youth voice and learn about youth action,
1) make/create media/art, 2) create community 3) participate in youth justice and rights conversations
FREE FOOD | FREE MUSIC | FREE STUFF
Who should come?
Teens – Artists – Media Artists – Youth Organizers – Student Councils – Youth adult allies – Teacher, parents, and more
Saturday November 8, 2014 9a – 6p, Registration and breakfast start at 8a
Carnegie Mellon University in Oakland – Newell-Simon Hall Atrium, 3rd Floor: link to Google Maps
Over 10 workshops on media production, art, or information on student rights!
Resource fair at lunch featuring information on college, employment, health services, and more!
Most 61/71/54 buses stop by CMU. Stops on Forbes Ave near the Carnegie Museum or at Hamburg Hall. Newell-Simon Hall is behind Hamburg Hall.
Parking is available on the lot at Forbes and Morewood, free on weekends.
Need transportation? We can help! Email firstname.lastname@example.org
Want to run a session? Volunteer? Table at the fair? Email email@example.com
Hear Me 101 Intern (Su' 2014) Juanita Suber created a presentation to facilitate discussion around Mental Health supports for teens in high school, specifically depression. Her presentation uses a film, "Teens, Depression, & Peer Pressure," that she produced with a group of her peers at the McKeesport Technology Center at McKeesport High School, in McKeesport, PA, to begin to show teen depression from their point of view. Juanita's moving presentation walks through her own personal experience and asks for caregivers to consider effective ways of aiding students and de-stigmatizing teen depression in schools.
View Juanita's presentation (opens in new window)
To request Juanita to present at your event, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Hear Me is looking for a new team member! This is a great opportunity for the right person to work with students, promote youth voice in the region and work at the CREATE Lab.
View and apply for the position here.
Please share this posting with any qualified candidates. The application period will end on August 29.
Hear Me and the CREATE Lab
An Open Essay by 16-year-old Denis McCormick
“People like to say we need to prepare students for real life, and what I counter that with is why don’t we make schools like real life itself-bring experiences outside of school into the school environment.”
This is a powerful quote from young education activist Nikhil Goyal (pictured above),who inspired me to further question standardized testing. As a student, I understand the importance of tests to track the progress of schools and individuals, but students shouldn’t be ranked based on test scores. The multiple-choice format of testing is a simplistic and inefficient way of assessment. It doesn’t show who the students are.
For example, students shouldn’t be labeled as “advanced,” “proficient” or “basic,” based on their answers to test questions. Coming from a low ranked school, I’ve seen students score poorly on these tests; meanwhile they have valuable real-life problem solving skills. I know that some of the things we learn are useful, but when will I be challenged in real life to fill in bubbles?
Schools put so much emphasis on the multiple choice section of standardized tests, but in the real world nothing will be given to us on a Scantron sheet with a packet full of multiple choice questions. As students, we struggle to find value in the state assessment system.
When I found out that our school district ranking was 437 out of 500, I felt that the Pittsburgh Business Times article was wrong and other students had mixed emotions. Some people agreed with the ranking, while others were mad, hurt and disappointed. We took action to make people realize that we are more than a number ranked by a system that fails to measure our real qualities. We all asked, ”Does this really define us? Are we really this bad?” We quickly shot down this thought and said, “We are more complex than what a test says about us. We are more than a number.” Then we decided as a collective group (The Future is Mine) to interview people on this topic and see how they felt about being labeled as “437”
Watch my documentary "437" here.
The state should provide more than just numbers about the students and the school district. The writers at the Pittsburgh Business Times were given the statistics and they were doing what they were supposed to do. The numbers don’t show anything about the students’ character or their community.
It is difficult to measure creativity and social involvement, but we should be ranked and defined by more than our test scores. We never get a chance to tell the true stories about our community and the quality of the people who live there. We are all held back by the statistics and we need to break the shackles of the “standardization” of our community and tell the real stories.
About 70 students, educators, parents, administrators and community members filled Pittsburgh Filmmakers’ Melwood Screening Room on May 22 for the 3rd annual Hear Me 101 Screening.
The evening kicked off with light refreshments, food, and music from Professor ASAP of Tracksploitation. The atmosphere was lively, as students were proud to share their work and others excited to watch. The audience took their seats at 6:30 for documentaries from Clairton High School, McKeesport Technology Center, Steel Valley High School, the F.U.S.E. after school program, which includes students from Wilkinsburg High School and Imani Christian Academy and special guest, Jay Fyre from Philadelphia.
Click here to watch the documentaries! (youtube link)
Students from McKeesport brainstormed and discussed a variety of topics before settling on three. The focused on "Hip-hop in Education," "Video Gaming for Learning", and "Depression." Students at Clairton selected two topics: "Access to Technology Education," and "Girls Bullying." The students gave a fresh perspective to bullying by focusing on bullying among middle schools girls. The Steel Valley TFIM club wanted to explore ways that students are affected by "success" and "failure." After wrestling with these ideas, they settled on tackling the school ratings systems by pointing out how it affects students, and adding more complex layers to the story of the 437-ranked school.
Alaquiva focused on building professional relationships, encouraging students to “make more deposits than withdrawals;” as he compared relationships to bank accounts. He shared his story from homelessness to becoming and Emmy Award Winning producer, entrepreneur and mentor; and told students, “When you think outside the box, you change what’s in it.”
The youngest panelist, Amma Ababio reassured the students that their videos will make a difference and hailed the documentaries as part of a new civil rights movement. She complemented the filmmakers on their dedication and critical thinking to address, and take steps to make positive change in their schools and communities.
(source: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)
As a former City-Councilman, Patrick Dowd was able to frame the conversation in a policy-driven manner. He addressed how the PA ranking system, which ranked Steel Valley at 437, was most likely intended to help schools by addressing needs, but instead hurt the image lower ranking schools. He noted that the documentaries are important because they can show policy makers the real impact of their policies and become a catalyst for change.
At the end of the night, the Hear Me 101 interns were announced. The interns were chosen out of those who submitted applications to earn a spot as paid staff members of Hear Me to work on building awareness and support for their films. The interns are as follows:
Denis McCormick from Steel Valley, Juanita Suber from McKeesport, and Jeffrey McDonald from Clairton.
Look for more from the interns this summer. Hear Me and our partners would like to thank everyone who came out to the screening and everyone who helped make the videos possible!
Share your pictures and thoughts on the screening: @hear_me_project #hearme101