Staff Picks

What We're Watching

Dim the lights and get ready to watch these TT-approved films!

Still image from PBS documentary Growing Up Trans
Frontline/PBS still image from Growing Up Trans

White People

White People, part of MTV’s “Look Different” anti-bias campaign, examines how young white people in the United States understand their racial identity. With Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and filmmaker Jose Antonio Vargas (Documented) at the helm, White People takes viewers across the United States to investigate the racial identities of five white youth specifically and to hear from larger groups of youth at high schools and community centers. Vargas poses questions such as, “What does it mean to be young and white?” and “What does white privilege mean to you?” The answers Vargas receives underscore the need for sustained, honest and open conversations around whiteness, white privilege and racial prejudice. (41 min.)

high school and professional development 


180 Days: Hartsville

180 Days: Hartsville is a two-part PBS documentary that captures the 2013-14 school year at two public elementary schools (West Hartsville Elementary School and Thornwell School of the Arts) in Hartsville, South Carolina. The educators viewers meet in Hartsville are deeply committed to making their students—the majority of whom live in poverty—feel valued and achieve academic success. 180 Days: Hartsville is an intimate look at how two elementary schools—one low-performing and the other rapidly improving—navigate the constraints of a rural setting, high-stakes testing, disciplinary practices, education reform and day-to-day student needs. 180 Days: Hartsville is the second season in the Peabody Award-winning series 180 Days. (Two 55-min. episodes)

professional development


Growing Up Trans

Growing Up Trans, produced by PBS Frontline, offers an unflinching look at the choices families must make when the biological sex and gender identity of their child do not match. The primary subjects of the documentary—children and adolescents who identify as transgender—offer their stories openly and honestly, explaining the realities of being trans in language that will resonate with middle and high school students, and with adult viewers. Growing Up Trans explicitly dissects the controversial use of hormone therapy for children who have not reached puberty, as well as the emotional kaleidoscope that even supportive parents feel when their child transitions. The Growing Up Trans webpage features several short, topical articles that accompany three- and four-minute clips from the film, which are perfect for classroom use. (84 min.)

middle and high school


I Learn America

I Learn America opens with this fact: “In America, one in four students is a child of immigration.” At International High School at Lafayette, the backdrop of I Learn America, this fact is very much a shared reality. The public school in Brooklyn, New York, serves some 300 newly arrived immigrant teenagers from 50 countries. I Learn America chronicles the experiences of five students: Brandon from Guatemala, Sing from Myanmar, Sandra from Poland, Jenniffer from the Dominican Republic and Itrat from Pakistan. Their voices and experiences add an important dimension to what is often— and inaccurately—chalked up to be a singular “immigrant experience” in the United States. I Learn America also shows the tremendous value of culturally responsive pedagogy, and offers a wealth of insight and inspiration for educators and students alike. (92 min.)*

middle school, high school and professional development