Archive for the ‘Let’s Get Real’ Category

GroundSpark to Help Address Students’ Fears in Michigan



By | blog, It's Elementary, Latest News, Let's Get Real, Professional Development, Respect For All Project, Straightlaced, That's A Family!

“Our immigrant students thought they’d need to pack their bags because they would have to leave America.”

That’s just one of the reasons Julie, Mushing, the diversity coordinator for Kent County, Michigan, has decided to have GroundSpark conduct a two-day Respect for All Institute for teachers and staff.

Students come from 89 different countries in this district
Photo courtesy of Kentwood Public Schools

There are 20 public school districts in the county including Kentwood, where there is a significant refugee population, students speak 61 different languages, and come from over 89 different countries.

Ms. Mushing started to field calls throughout the presidential campaign, but once the election happened and after November 8th, the situation has gotten much worse. “There is a huge fear among our Muslim students that there will soon be a national Muslim registry,” she says. “Even our African American students think they are going to be sent back to Africa.”

One of the county’s school districts is in a rural area that has a predominantly white middle-class farming community. In recent years, families of other racial and ethnic identities have moved in, and, of course, their children go to school. “People there have the mindset that these kids are not part of the community,” Mushing says. “I wish we could have this training next week!”

During our Respect for All Institutes, our education team uses our documentaries That’s a Family!, Let’s Get Real, Straightlaced—How Gender’s Got Us All Tied Up, and It’s Elementary—Talking About Gay Issues in School to help teachers become more skilled and comfortable creating safe learning environments. All participants are provided with copies of the films and their teaching guides.

“I hope the teachers who attend will take what they learn back to their schools and help others who work in their building support those students who don’t fit some kind of social norm.”

For the Kent County institute, we’ll be focusing on supporting educators to be more inclusive of students from diverse family structures and to address bias-based bullying.

A portion of the expenses for the Institute will be covered by a generous gift from Irene and Regina Dick-Endrizzi.

If your school district is facing an uptick in bias-based bullying connected to the election, please contact us. We’re here to help.

No Name Calling Week Discount on Our Anti-Bias Documentaries



By | blog, It's Elementary, It's STILL Elementary, Let's Get Real, LGBT, Respect For All Project, Straightlaced, That's A Family!

We were proud to offer free streaming of all of our Respect for All Project films for No Name Calling Week. This month, hundreds of school social workers, guidance counselors, and teachers signed up for the free streams and showed the films to thousands of students during No Name Calling Week. It’s been exciting to hear the feedback from educators.

Amber Schweitzer, a teacher at Castle Rock High School in Castle View, Colorado told us that because of their screening, the school will be inviting a panel of LGBTQ speakers to speak with students.

“Our school is not very diverse.
Straightlaced opened my students’ eyes to not only gender norms,
but also cultural differences they are not used to considering.”

-Amber Schweitzer, teacher

Jen Cusa, a social worker at the Urban Assembly Institute of Math and Science for Young Women in Brooklyn, NY showed Let’s Get Real to 60 students. The highlight for her was after the film, students shared their own experience with name calling and how they coped. They talked about “how they will support others going through similar experiences and help create a safe/kind community.”

For the rest of January, you can still take advantage of the No Name Calling Week 50% discount on all educational purchases of the full quality DVDs and curriculum guides, or educational streaming licenses of these films. Just use discount code NNCW17 when you place your order.

We know these resources are especially valuable as schools work to counteract the messages of bias and division that the presidential race and aftermath has brought.

RAFP films

The Respect For All Project includes five highly acclaimed documentaries, each crafted for targeted age groups:

All the films have accompanying curriculum guides. The films are available close captioned in English and with Spanish subtitles.

The 50% discount in honor of No Name Calling Week ends on Tuesday, January 31 so order your DVDs or streaming licenses today!

Purchase a Film with the No Name Calling Week Discount

Once you select the films you want to purchase, you will be sent to our distributor, New Day Films, and upon checkout you enter the discount code NNCW17 to receive 50% off! You also can enter a purchase order number during check out.

Free Streaming for No Name Calling Week 2017



By | blog, It's Elementary, It's STILL Elementary, Latest News, Let's Get Real, LGBT, Respect For All Project, Straightlaced, That's A Family!

As you have probably heard, students across the country have been experiencing increased levels of bias-based bullying connected to the tenor of the presidential race and its aftermath. That’s why this year’s No Name Calling Week is more important than ever.

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GroundSpark is proud to partner with GLSEN for No Name Calling Week 2017. To help create safe schools free of name-calling, bullying and bias, we’re offering free streaming of all of our Respect for All Project films during the month of January!

Sign Up for Free Streaming

Our free streams allow educators and youth group leaders to preview five highly acclaimed documentaries, each crafted for targeted age groups:

All titles are excellent discussion starters for college students and professional development as well.

Whether you’re an educator, student, or another kind of school leader, these films are excellent resources for organizing transformative events in your community during No Name-Calling Week.

“GLSEN and GroundSpark are long-time partners in promoting respect for all in our schools. GLSEN connects teachers and students with the tools they need to make a difference, and when used leading up to and during No Name-Calling Week, these powerful films can help foster respectful dialogue around issues of bias and bullying.”
                            –Eliza Byard, Executive Director, GLSEN

Help us spread the word about this amazing opportunity! Share the news on Facebook and Twitter or pass this email along to a friend who works with youth.

Gifts to Help Schools Address Bias



By | blog, Let's Get Real, Respect For All Project

Thanks to a very generous gift from Irene and Regina Dick-Endrizzi, GroundSpark now has a fund designated to help defray expenses to send our education team out to support school communities to address bias-based bullying.

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Middle school students strategize how to stop harassment of classmates whose English is limited after watching our film, Let’s Get Real.

The $5,000 donation, made in memory of Irene’s father, Marshall Dick, was given in response to the wave of attacks on students during and after the presidential campaign.

If you would like your end-of-year gift to be added to this fund, please make a note of that in the comments section when you send in your gift online.

Or write “education fund” on your check when you make it out to GroundSpark and mail to 4104 24th Street, Suite 2013, San Francisco, CA 94114.

The president-elect may be spending his time fueling animosity among different communities, but GroundSpark is redoubling our commitment to provide high quality films, curriculum guides, and professional training to ensure that every school is a place where Respect for All is valued.

Join us with your tax-deductible end-of-year gift today.

We’re Bracing Ourselves—We Need Your Help



By | blog, Latest News, Let's Get Real, Respect For All Project

Last week I got a call from a guidance counselor at a middle school in Cincinnati. “We are having a lot of problems since the election,” she said. We’re looking for something to help us get our students’ attention about bias and bullying. Can you tell me about your films?”

After a little more conversation I learned that the harassment was centering on the students who are first generation immigrants, so I told her about Let’s Get Real and the activity in our curriculum guide around racial and ethnic slurs. “Perfect,” she said.

As we look toward Donald Trump taking office next month, we are bracing ourselves for a storm of new challenges in our school communities.

Using our films to train suicide prevention counselors in Georgia this year.

Our donors help us support guidance counselors and teachers all over the country, and oftentimes in other nations as well.

Can you help us get ready for 2017?

Your support will enable us to provide free streaming of all of our Respect for All Films next month in conjunction with No Name Calling Week. We anticipate hundreds of schools will come into contact with our films and curriculum guides for the first time.

Your support helps us respond when schools reach out to us for professional development to help their staff address bias-related bullying and suicide prevention more effectively—like the work we did in Georgia this past year with all the suicide prevention staff at the state’s colleges and universities or the district-wide training we did in the San Diego public high schools about gender and sexuality pressures.

Please, sign on to the GroundSpark honor roll by making your tax-deductible gift to GroundSpark, today.

Start Streaming GroundSpark’s Award-Winning Documentaries Today



By | blog, Choosing Children, Deadly Deception, Homes and Hands, It's Elementary, It's STILL Elementary, Let's Get Real, One Wedding and A Revolution, Straightlaced, That's A Family!

If you are affiliated with a college or university, you may now have a way to access all of GroundSpark films and share them with your students, colleagues and staff on campus. Hundreds of colleges and universities are subscribed to Kanopy, a streaming service for institutions of higher education. If your academic institution is subscribed, you can get instant access to our films at no extra cost to you or your students. Explore all the GroundSpark films:

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Straightlaced—How Gender’s Got Us All Tied Up

A69C0585.JPG Phyllis Lyon, left, and Del Martin, who have been together for 51 years, embrace after their marriage at city Hall.

One Wedding and…a Revolution

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It’s Elementary—Talking About Gay Issues in School

5kanopy

It’s Still Elementary

7kanopy

Let’s Get Real

That’s a Family!

8kanopy

Choosing Children

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Homes and Hands: Community Land Trusts in Action

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Deadly Deception—General Electric, Nuclear Weapons and Our Environment

Learn more about each of these films here and please contact us if you have any questions about how Kanopy streaming works for these titles!

Four Victories You Can Celebrate



By | It's Elementary, Let's Get Real, Respect For All Project, Straightlaced, That's A Family!

“I’m ready for 2015 to end!” Have you been thinking that? Some days, I do too. But I want to remind you of four fantastic things that happened this year—in small part because of GroundSpark’s culture changing work—and because of your support.

When we started our Respect for All Project 20 years ago, the idea that marriage equality would become the law of the land wasn’t even a pipedream. So, at the time, it was stunning when we filmed fourth graders for It’s Elementary—Talking About Gay Issues in School having a reasonable classroom discussion about whether or not gay people should be allowed to marry.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

www.youtube.com/watch?v=EH5gfqC8V6g&feature=youtu.be

THIS YEAR, the Supreme Court finally settled the debate the students are having in this scene!

     (Click photo to see the scene) 

What’s more, the number of colleges of education ordering educational streaming licenses for It’s Elementary continued to grow—which means the next generation of K-12 teachers is learning how to support their students to develop critical thinking skills and a passion for justice.

www.youtube.com/watch?v=EH5gfqC8V6g&feature=youtu.be  

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fifteen years ago, when we produced a film that modeled how to talk to children about all different kinds of family structures—including those with gay or lesbian parents, it was still illegal for gay people to adopt children in many states. No wonder That’s a Family!struck a nerve in school district after school district.

<<< (Click to watch trailer) 

 

 

THIS YEAR, couples in Mississippi, the last state in the country that still bans gay couples from adopting, filed suit to challenge that law. It’s gratifying to see schools in more conservative areas coming around to use That’s a Family! Now they really have no excuse but to be inclusive of all different kinds of families.

When we were making Let’s Get Real, our documentary about bias-based bullying, I remember people scoffing. “That’s just the way kids are. And that’s the way it will always be.” Only a handful of states had any laws or policies addressing the bullying epidemic.

  (Click to watch trailer) >>>>

 

 

THIS YEAR, Montana finally became the 50th state to get on board. It has become completely unacceptable for schools to ignore this issue any more. And GroundSpark launched a new campaign to reach out to PTAs to use Let’s Get Real to help parents and guardians understand what they can do to help the climate at their children’s schools.

When we were filming Straightlaced—How Gender’s Got Us All Tied Up, one of the gay students in the film talked about how, by appearing on camera, he was putting his Eagle Scout award at risk because the Boy Scouts had a ban on gay members and troop leaders.

(Watch!) 

 

 

THIS YEAR, the Boy Scouts finally dropped the ban, something we could barely even hope for when we made the film! And hundreds of teachers took advantage of the Straightlaced free streaming for Ally Week and No Name Calling week that GroundSpark provided with the help of our donors.

As 2015 comes to a close, let’s honor these victories. Please take a minute to renew your support to GroundSpark with as generous a gift as you can. You can help insure that we will be able to ignite change with film just as successfully in 2016.

Partnering to Prevent Bullying at School



By | Let's Get Real, Respect For All Project

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To start the new school year, GroundSpark is partnering with the Human Rights Campaign‘s “Welcoming Schools” project to help parents and guardians use award-winning anti-bullying films at their children’s schools!

Featuring GroundSpark’s acclaimed half hour documentary, Let’s Get Real, plus Welcoming Schools’ short, What Can We Do? Bias, Bullying, and Bystanders, our comprehensive new screening kit is a way for parents and guardians to come together to talk with school staff about promoting respect, supporting diversity, and cultivating ally behavior.

“Addressing bias-based bullying takes a whole-school approach, including PTO’s, PTA’s, and parents/guardians,” said Johanna Eager, Welcoming Schools Director. “As such, we are excited to partner with GroundSpark to provide a much-needed resource for any parent to organize an event to engage thoughtful discussion centered on creating safe and welcoming schools for all students and families in the school community.”

Through this partnership we’re able to provide a free second film with the purchase of Let’s Get Real, plus a special event planning guide and screening facilitation materials to support parents wanting to launch into dialogue about the dynamics at their own child’s school. Ideally, parents would work with their PTA to schedule screenings and discussion for the adults in their school communities, about how to best support the school staff’s work with students.

“We strongly believe that parents and guardians are the third leg of the stool that must be engaged in order to have a safe school learning environment,” says GroundSpark president and film director Debra Chasnoff. “This program and partnership with Welcoming Schools will help strengthen any school’s work with staff and students. We’ve made it very easy for any group of parents to turn their interest and concern into action.”

Part of GroundSpark’s Respect for All Project, Let’s Get Real gives young people the chance to tell their stories in their own words and includes an accompanying teaching guide which encourages schools to address important questions, including how bullying intersects with factors like race, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, economic status, religion, country of origin, and physical or learning abilities. Meanwhile, Welcoming SchoolsWhat Can We Do? short shows teachers engaging elementary school students in conversations about bullying and bias.

PTOs, PTAs, after-school programs and community youth groups are all invited to be a part of this national effort to open up discussion and take action to prevent bias-related bullying at school.

Learn more about the campaign and how to get involved here!

Partnering with SOJOURN to Bring Respect For All to the Southeast



By | It's Elementary, Let's Get Real, LGBT, Respect For All Project, Screenings, Straightlaced, That's A Family!

sojourn
We’re headed down south to help transform community conversations from Atlanta to Birmingham!

Joining forces with the Southern Jewish Resource Network for Gender and Sexual Diversity (SOJOURN), GroundSpark will help bring powerful new educational programming to communities across the Southeastern United States later this month, centered on our award-winning Respect for All documentary series.

“GroundSpark’s films are the perfect complement to the work that SOJOURN does throughout the Southeast. They tackle issues surrounding gender normativity and identity, homophobia, and family relationships in a real, down-to-earth way,” says Rebecca Stapel-Wax, executive director of SOJOURN. “Each documentary features children and teens who are living these experiences daily.”

SOJOURN, who seek to promote increased understanding and acceptance of individuals across the spectrum of gender and sexual orientation, will lead inspiring conversations and lesson plans around four of our films – Let’s Get Real, Straightlaced – How Gender’s Got Us All Tied Up, That’s A Family!, and It’s Elementary—Talking About Gay Issues in School – from February 21st to the 23rd, in public school districts, independent schools, and Jewish community organizations.

“We are thrilled to be able to reach new audiences in the south through this partnership with SOJOURN,” says GroundSpark’s president and senior producer, Debra Chasnoff. “There is exciting work happening now in Georgia, North Carolina, and Alabama to support all students to be their best, fullest selves. We are honored that our films, curricula, and professional development programs will be utilized to expand that work even further.”

This transformative partnership is made possible through a grant from the Amy Mandel and Katina Rodis Fund. For more information and to register for these events and programs, please see GroundSpark’s events calendar!

Free Streaming for No Name-Calling Week



By | blog, It's Elementary, It's STILL Elementary, Let's Get Real, Straightlaced, That's A Family!

Screen Shot 2015-01-20 at 8.08.40 AM

For the last ten years, Groundspark has proudly partnered with the Gay, Lesbian, & Straight Education Network (GLSEN) for No Name-Calling Week, a week dedicated to celebrating kindness and working to create safe schools free of name-calling, bullying and bias. In recognition of this powerful decade-long commitment, we’re offering FREE STREAMING of all of our Respect for All Project films during the entire month of January!

Click here to sign-up. 

Our free streams allow you to preview award-winning films challenging limiting social norms and prejudice, like Straightlaced, Let’s Get RealIt’s ElementaryIt’s Still Elementary and That’s a Family!  We’re also offering a 25% discount on the full-quality DVD or educational stream licenses of these films throughout the month (Use discount code NNCW15 when you place your order).

Whether you’re an educator, student, or any other kind of school leader, these films offer an excellent resource for organizing transformative events in your community during No Name-Calling Week, January 19th to the 23rd, and beyond.

“GLSEN and GroundSpark are long-time partners in promoting respect for all in our schools. This year, we are excited to announce an expanded partnership for GLSEN’s No Name-Calling Week, giving educators and students free streaming access to all of GroundSpark’s Respect for All Films for the month of January. GLSEN connects teachers and students with the tools they need to make a difference, and when used leading up to and during No Name-Calling Week, these powerful films can help foster respectful dialogue around issues of bias and bullying.”
                                                          –Eliza Byard, Executive Director, GLSEN

Help us spread the word about this amazing opportunity! Share the news on Facebook and Twitter.

Together we can expand this inspiring tradition and continue to work towards ending name-calling and bullying in our schools!