A Model for the Nation

Written by Amanda Cote

On May 15, 2013

Interview with Brian Agnew, Principal of Chicora

Like others in this fair city, some of Charleston’s teachers are soon to become film stars. I recently guided the School Improvement Network’s film crew from Salt Lake City around Charleston Promise Neighborhood (CPN), taking them to film our schools and community initiatives. The School Improvement Network contacted CPN after we purchased a license for their PD 360 database as an effort under our Achieving Classroom Excellence (ACE) program. PD 360 offers personalized professional development through an internet based platform holding over 1,500 videos on critical topics in education. Videos show how nonprofits like CPN have pitched-in to advance school reform in school districts across the country. CPN’s filming will be part of a collection of videos designed to share best practices.

“I am excited to share the great work of educators in the Charleston community, part with thousands of educators around the country!” said Marissa Bernhard, Producer from the School Improvement Network.

Image Captured from Mayor Riley’s Interview

Over the past few months, the School Improvement Network production crew filmed interviews with CPN officials and other influential people, including Mayor Joseph Riley, Mayor Summey, CCSD Superintendent Dr. Nancy McGinley, Associate Superintendent Dr. Winbush, and members of CPN’s Community Engagement Council. They also filmed classroom activities, student visits to the school-based health clinic, and interviews with principals, teachers, students, parents, and our KidsWell volunteer pediatrician.

Film Crew Captures Class at Chicora Elementary


Accompanying the School Improvement Network to CPN schools, I saw the passion and dedication teachers had for their students’ success. Sitting in the back of a classroom, I noticed the level of engagement between the teachers and students, even with distracting cameras and film crew walking around the room. It was amazing to hear the students’ feedback throughout the day. During a math class, a teacher asked a question, and while waiting for the answer she said “We’ve done this a million times”, and a student raised their hand and responded “That’s a hyperbole!” remembering figurative language they learned weeks ago. This classroom was a supportive learning environment; and I could tell the teacher developed positive personal relationships with the students.

I am proud to be a part of the CPN team, and know that our teachers’ best practices recorded by the School Improvement Network will be models for educators and communities across the nation!