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35 minutes | 2 months ago
Pandemic year: School, shootings
Dozens of school-aged children in Philadelphia were murdered since January 2020 — a spike that tracks with a surge in homicides in cities across the country. For loved ones, the pain of these losses has been exacerbated by the isolation of the pandemic. And without in-person school, classmates and teachers have tried to navigate their grief from a distance. This is the story of our other public health crisis, gun violence, told through the lives of three Philadelphia teenagers whose time was cut short.
34 minutes | a year ago
Bonus: The Class of 2020, ‘on hold’ and ‘on fire’
The high school class of 2020 is bound for the history books. They were born in the wake of 9-11. Entered kindergarten during the Great Recession. Had their senior years interrupted by a global pandemic. And have now graduated into an uncertain future amid mass COVID-19 deaths, record unemployment and civic upheaval in the streets. In this episode we’re telling the stories of students coming of age in a moment where the world feels both ‘on hold’ and ‘on fire.’
46 minutes | 2 years ago
S.03 Ep. 04 Summer in the City
A portrait of summer at a recreation center in a Philadelphia neighborhood where the threat of violent crime is never far off. Starting on the last day of school, we meet students — many living in nearby public housing — who embrace the structure set by staffers at the Hank Gathers Rec Center. Schools in the neighborhood often struggle to keep students orderly and engaged. Why is the rec center so different? What educational role does it play in the lives of students? This slice-of-life story explores the impact Gathers has on students living amid daily reminders of violence and trauma.
43 minutes | 2 years ago
S. 03 Ep. 03: Don’t eat the marshmallow
KIPP Philadelphia started a middle school in 2003 that promised to change students’ lives. It was one of the city’s first “no excuses” charter schools, where administrators implemented a militaristic discipline system and promoted a laser focus on college for kids from low-income neighborhoods. They also regularly counseled students who didn’t embrace their methods to leave the school. Now, 15 years later, we track down dozens of former students to ask: in the long run, did the school live up to its promise? How were lives affected? And how has the school’s original vision of success evolved?
25 minutes | 2 years ago
S.03 Ep. 02 Last Chance High — part two
We continue following Joshua Martinez and his classmates as they fight to graduate. But a teacher at El Centro raises serious questions about the rigor of the school that leads to bigger questions: For students who are far behind grade level, how much should we really expect? Where’s the line for who deserves a diploma?
25 minutes | 2 years ago
S. 03 Ep. 01: Last Chance High
Joshua Martinez grew up in poverty in a neighborhood where selling drugs is a way of life. At 16, he quit school, but soon feared he had put himself on a dead-end path. Seeking a better life, he enrolled in an alternative school specifically for high school dropouts. There, a debate arises among faculty at the school: For students who are far behind grade level, how much should we really expect? What’s more important, building confidence and relationships, or academic mastery? Where’s the line for who deserves a diploma? We explore these questions through intimate portraits of students, like Joshua, as they fight to graduate.
2 minutes | 2 years ago
Schooled: Season Three Trailer
What does it really mean to get a good education? What is educational success? The third season of WHYY’s Schooled podcast explores these questions and more through stories of different students fighting to escape poverty in Philadelphia. The four episode season will be released weekly starting on August 7. Listen to the season trailer above. ‘Last Chance High,’ parts 1 and 2 Joshua Martinez grew up in poverty in a neighborhood where selling drugs is a way of life. At 16, he quit school, but soon feared he had put himself on a dead-end path. Seeking a better life, he enrolled in an alternative school specifically for high school dropouts. There, a debate arises among faculty: for students who are far below grade level, how much should really be expected? What’s more important, building confidence and relationships, or academic mastery? Where’s the line for who deserves a diploma? We explore these questions through intimate portraits of students, like Joshua, as they fight to graduate.
15 minutes | 2 years ago
Special update: The story Jovan Weaver didn’t tell
More than a year after releasing the second season of Schooled, we learn that Jovan Weaver has been carrying a dark secret. In late 2017, Jovan killed a man in a hit-and-run and then allegedly attempted to burn his car to destroy the evidence. Charges were filed against him in April 2019. They became public in June and Jovan resigned as principal of Wister Elementary. In this special episode we unpack the details of the case and its larger implications. We hear from members of the victim’s family and dig through our interviews with Jovan before and after the incident.
38 minutes | 3 years ago
S. 02 Ep. 01: You Shouldn’t Be Here
As principal of Wister Elementary, Jovan Weaver knows well the trauma that many of his students experience. He grew up fatherless during Philadelphia’s crack epidemic in the 1980s and 90s, and was abandoned when he was 10 by his mother, a drug dealer. Ultimately, public school was Jovan’s salvation, and — as he still grapples with the scars of his past — he sets out to make Wister a refuge of “love and positivity” for the students of today.
36 minutes | 3 years ago
S. 02 Ep. 02: Battle lines
Becoming principal of Wister meant Jovan Weaver would be working under a microscope. The bitter debate that led to Wister’s conversion to a charter school raised questions of politics, access and influence. And it pitted Philadelphia neighbors against one another in an emotional battle that dominated local headlines. Parents were promised transformative change, and Jovan takes on that responsibility as things in his personal life become more difficult.
36 minutes | 3 years ago
S. 02 Ep. 03: No excuses
Jovan tries to find a balance between the high expectations, “no excuses” culture for which Mastery Charter is known and the “love and positivity” mission he envisions based on his own traumatic childhood. Along the way he faces tough decisions, such as in the fifth grade — where the largely black student population has teachers who are worlds apart when it comes to life experience, race and, ultimately, effectiveness.
39 minutes | 3 years ago
S. 02 Ep. 04: What we went through
Wister’s 5th grade students see themselves reflected in a faculty that has adopted a civil rights mission. Bahir Hayes and other teachers grapple with what it means and what it takes to make a successful school. And as the school enters the second year of its conversion, Jovan makes a major life decision.
2 minutes | 3 years ago
Schooled: Season Two Trailer
John Wister Elementary is a tiny school in a Philadelphia neighborhood besieged by poverty. And it sparked a huge, citywide debate. After months of bitter acrimony, district leaders pushed out the school’s faculty and gave control of Wister to a charter organization. In Season Two of Schooled, based on years of reporting, we ask three questions: did that change make a difference for kids? Why? At what cost? Throughout the season, we follow the story of Jovan Weaver, who attended Philly public schools and overcame a traumatic childhood to become Wister’s new principal. His goal: create a school good enough for his own children to attend. Listen to the trailer above. Subscribe to the podcast today. This four-episode season, “You Shouldn’t Be Here: The story of Jovan Weaver and Wister Elementary,” will premiere on Wednesday, April 25.
27 minutes | 4 years ago
S. 01 Ep. 01: A Fighter Since Birth
By seventh grade, Savannah was already in danger of becoming a casualty of the North Philly streets; she’s endured horrific childhood abuse, eventually becoming pregnant by age 14. But Savannah — motivated by her newborn daughter — sets out to escape the cycle of poverty. Listen above or read the story here.
32 minutes | 4 years ago
S. 01 Ep. 03: Don’t Call it the Badlands
Savannah’s attendance record holds her back at school, threatening her chances of graduating. A dedicated group of teachers, mentors, and peers help her see the good in her community, while tensions with her mother reach an apex. Listen above or read the story here.
28 minutes | 4 years ago
S. 01 Ep. 02: Be Somebody
Savannah enters high school eager to defy the odds. She’s determined not to follow the path of her mother, who dropped out of the very same North Philadelphia high school after becoming pregnant at age 16. To succeed, Savannah must juggle the responsibility of being a mother, student, and part-time family breadwinner. Listen above or read the story here.
2 minutes | 4 years ago
Season One Trailer
“Schooled” gives the insider’s story of America’s public schools, through the eyes of students, parents and educators. We begin with Savannah Zayas, a teen mother in a struggling high school who’s determined to escape poverty by earning her diploma. Season 1 is based on more than a year of interviews with Savannah, who’s fought to overcome horrific abuse, and avoid the problems of the world around her — a drug-infused area of Philadelphia known as “the badlands.” Her goal: to graduate high school. Subscribe to the podcast today.
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