C.A.S.A.: An Education Revolution is a feature-length documentary about an internationally recognized middle school celebrated for its innovation and education of the whole child. Cornerstone Academy for Social Action Middle School (“CASA“) was founded in 2009 by principal Jamaal Bowman and a group of passionate, socially conscious teachers ready to do whatever it took to transform the community in which they serve. In 2012, CASA ranked in the top 17% of middle schools in New York City in reading and mathematics. In 2015, CASA had the highest combined reading and math growth score average in New York City. Since its opening, CASA has consistently ranked in the top ten in attendance in its school district.In collaboration with organizations such as Hip Hop Saves Lives, CASA Middle School students have been responsible for writing and producing over 10 social justice music videos that were featured on news outlets over 30 times in media channels such as NY1, News 12 and Arise TV just to name a few.
In our documentary, we hear from parents, teachers, artists, activists, and education leaders about the state of public education, how we got to this point, and where we go from here. Students remain the voice at the center of our narrative. C.A.S.A.: An Education Revolution, pushes back against the narrow standardization and privatization agenda attempting to govern our public schools. CASA resists practices around the idea that students are raw material to be molded into square pegs for a narrow economy, and resists any form of injustice. This is a story about the genius of students in the Bronx and all over the world, and how their voice, love, curiosity, and creativity must be nurtured to solve the world’s biggest challenges.
The protagonist of this film is principal Jamaal Bowman, raised by a single mother who taught him that education was essential. Bowman was born the same year Hip Hop was founded and has spent most of his career as an educator in the Bronx where the culture initially started. Just like most of his students, Bowman grew up to face many challenges and Hip Hop was key in helping him succeed. Hip Hop is still what drives him today. Against all odds, Jamaal Bowman founded CASA Middle School on the very principles of the culture that raised him — Hip Hop.
The Documentary is written and directed by Johwell St-Cilien, a filmmaker from Paris, who is working with Jean-Michel “MK” Dobaria as Director of Photography.
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