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Documenting the impact of Philly school closings

This article was originally published in The Notebook. In August 2020, The Notebook became Chalkbeat Philadelphia.

https://player.vimeo.com/video/75963102?loop=0 Videographer Amy Yeboah worked this summer with the Notebook to complete a 30-minute documentary about this year’s wave of school closings. It’s called Goodbye to City Schools.

The project took her inside four of the 24 schools that closed for good in June: Germantown High School, Bok Technical High School, Fairhill Elementary School, and University City High School. The project was made possible through a graduate fellowship position at the Notebook sponsored by the Samuel S. Fels Fund.

At 7 p.m. on Oct. 16, the documentary will be screened at an event hosted by the Notebook and the nonprofit Scribe Video Center, 4212 Chestnut St., as part of Scribe’s Storyville series.

An exhibit of still photos of recent school closings by a group of local photographers including Harvey Finkle, Notebook photographer, will also open that night at Scribe and will run through Jan. 17.

For information, call Scribe at 215-222-4201.

Yeboah, who holds a doctorate in African American studies from Temple University, conducted sitdown interviews with principals, teachers, and community members during the last days of the school year about the impact that school closings have had on the community. After weeks of collecting material and editing film, Yeboah completed the project in August.

In her film, Yeboah said, “You’ll see the faces of what school closing means: students’ faces, families’ faces. You’ll see hurt, you’ll see pain, you’ll see struggle, you’ll see frustration, you’ll see letdown and disappointment. You’ll see tears. You’ll see desks, you’ll see walls, you’ll see all these things that have been engulfed in two words: school closing.”

Storyville is $5, but free for Scribe members. For more information about the video, please contact the Notebook.