"Chicago Public Schools: Closed" premieres today

In a sold out live event premiere tonight at 6:30pm, The School Project, a collaboratively-made documentary web series about public education, presents its second episode: "Chicago Public Schools: Closed", followed by a debate about the effect of the 2013 Chicago Public School closings. Watch it now ahead of tonight's conversation.

The School Project teamed up with University of Chicago’s Consortium on Chicago School Research (CCSR) to revisit the aftermath of Chicago’s 2013 school closings. Elaine Allensworth of the CCSR will present findings from a new report exploring where the 10,000 students affected by the closings in 2013 ended up. The research looks at whether displaced students from closed schools enrolled in the welcoming schools assigned by CPS, if they ended up in higher- or lower-rated schools, and which factors shaped their decisions.

Panelists include Jesse Ruiz of the Board of Education, Jitu Brown of the Journey for Justice Alliance, Asif Wilson, executive director of Greenhouse Fellowship and a former Chicago Public School teacher. Jesus "Chuy" Garcia is also expected to attend.

Ahead of tonight's event, supervising producer Rachel Dickson and executive producer Bob Hercules appeared on Good Day Chicago to discuss the series. Dickson states that working on the The School project revealed that many CPS families felt "emotional trauma and loss of community" after the 2013 closings. In the Chicago Tribune, Juan Perez, Jr. also reported on the findings of the CCSR study.

Watch "Chicago Public Schools: Closed" and participate in the interactive live event, which will draw from questions from the crowd and online via the #Chischoolclosings and #Theschoolproject hashtags, seeking to answer three main questions:
1. How have the 2013 school closings changed Chicago?
2. Do you have unanswered questions about the school closings?
3. How do we move forward as a city?

The School Project is six-part series made through a collaboration by Siskel/Jacobs Productions, Kartemquin Films, Media Process Group, Free Spirit Media and Kindling Group, and producers Rachel Dickson and Melissa Sterne. Outreach partners include WTTW/Channel 11, the Chicago Sun-Times, Catalyst Chicago, the Chicago History Museum, Ebony.com, CANTV, StoryCorps, and Community Media Workshop. www.schoolprojectfilm.com