Documentary about teacher’s success to be screened at middle school
GAINESVILLE, Fla. â€”Â Directed and produced by award-winning University of Florida documentary filmmaker Boaz Dvir, â€śDiscovering Gloriaâ€ť tells the story of former Gainesville Duval Elementary School teacher Gloria Jean Merriexâ€™s transformation into a trailblazing innovator and a national model.
“Discovering Gloriaâ€ť will be shown at 6:30 p.m.Â Sept. 26Â at Lincoln Middle School in Gainesville. The 90-minute program, which is sponsored by the UF College of Educationâ€™s Lastinger Center for Learning, includes opening remarks by Alachua County Public Schools Superintendent Dan Boyd and a post-screening panel discussion with UF leaders, professors and researchers. The event is free and open to the public.
“Gloriaâ€™s instinctive innovations have greatly informed our work,â€ť said UF Lastinger Center Director Don Pemberton, who worked closely with Merriex. â€śShe showed what an incredible difference a master teacher can make in the lives of vulnerable children.â€ť
In 2008, Merriex received a grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation to create a national curriculum using her innovations. The next day, she suffered a fatal diabetic stroke.
The Sept. 26 documentary post-screening panel features Pemberton;Â Thomasenia Adams, associate dean for research at the UF College of Education;Â Elizabeth Bondy, director of the UF College of Educationâ€™s School of Teaching and Learning; Alachua County School Board Member Leanetta McNealy; Alachua County Public Schools Fine Arts Facilitator Angela Terrell; and University of Texas assistant professor Emily Bonner.
The panel also features two of the 35 former Merriex students expected to attend: Charlie Brown, a UF premed junior, and Jasmine Patterson, a Santa Fe College freshman.
An inspiring 40-minute documentary, â€śDiscovering Gloriaâ€ť shows Merriex engaging her math and reading students at the most effective levels through her innovations, which included hip-hop and dance routines.
In the film, Pemberton, Bondy and others who examined Merriexâ€™s methods describe how she broke vital new ground.
â€śShe didnâ€™t move to using music because she studied Howard Gardnerâ€™s work about multiple intelligences,â€ť Bondy says in the film. â€śShe moved to using music and movement and the other strategies that she used because she studied her students.â€ť
â€śDiscovering Gloriaâ€ť also shows how Merriex helped Duval leap from an F on the Florida Comprehensive Assessment TestÂ in 2002 to an A the following year.
“Gloriaâ€™s innovative approach of teaching her students using rhythm, rhyme and movement is legendary in the Duval Elementary School community,â€ťÂ Boyd said.Â â€śThrough this documentary, people outside that community will also have an opportunity to learn about Gloria’s methods and her many contributions to education.”
- Boaz Dvir, firstname.lastname@example.org, 352-273-0289