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Oyler: One School, One Year
57-minutes
A Cincinnati public school fights to break the cycle of poverty in its Urban Appalachian neighborhood, where senior Raven Gribbins aims to become the first in her troubled family to graduate and go to college. When Principal Craig Hockenberry's job is threatened, it becomes clear it's a make-or-break year for both of them.
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Oyler: One School, One Year

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Running Time
57 minutes

Oyler: One School, One Year

OYLER, a documentary film by Amy Scott, produced in association with American Public Media’s “Marketplace,” tells the story of a dramatic turnaround in one of Cincinnati’s poorest neighborhoods. Before 2006, almost no one from Lower Price Hill finished high school, much less went to college. The neighborhood was traditionally Urban Appalachian—an insular community with roots in the coal mining towns of Kentucky and West Virginia. The local Oyler School only went through 8th grade. After that, rather than ride the bus out of the neighborhood for high school, most kids dropped out. Under Principal Craig Hockenberry’s leadership, Oyler School has transformed into a “community learning center,” serving kids from preschool through 12th grade. Oyler is open year-round, from early morning until late at night. The school provides breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and sends hungry kids home with food on weekends. Students can walk down the hall to access a health clinic, vision center, and mental health counseling. ​Based on the award-winning “Marketplace” radio series “One School, One Year,” OYLER takes viewers through a year at the school, focusing on Hockenberry’s mission to transform a community, and on senior Raven Gribbins’ quest to become the first in her troubled family to finish high school and go to college. We’re there for the setbacks, as two murders close to home and a worsening heroin problem erode the school’s progress, and as distant bureaucracies threaten Principal Hockenberry’s job. We also see the triumphs, as Raven reunites with her father—a recovering addict—and gets recruited by an out-of-state college that could be her ticket to a better life. OYLER tells a gripping story of individuals fighting for change in a unique American community, but it also takes on one of our country’s most pressing challenges—the persistent achievement gap between low-income students and their more affluent peers. Roughly half of the children in U.S. public schools today come from low-income families, and a debate is raging over how to help more of them succeed. Oyler School’s approach—combining academic, health, and social services under one roof—is catching on around the country. But does it work? At a time of growing inequality in our society, OYLER is a vital contribution the national conversation about how to fix—and assess—our ailing public schools.

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