Middle & High School Education Program

The REACT to FILM middle & high school elective course is a semester long curricula that leverages the best social-issue films to expose students to today’s critical issues, to teach media literacy and promote civic engagement in classroom discussion with peers and teachers, and to inspire them to find their own voice on matters of universal civic importance.

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America’s democratic system demands a well-informed, engaged and civic-minded citizenry, yet our society today is failing like never before in producing these kinds of citizens.

Recently America ranked 139th out of 172 democracies in voter participation, only 10% of citizens have contacted a public official during the year, 2/3rds can’t name the 3 branches of government, 1/3rd can’t name the VP, and only 8% of HS seniors can list responsibilities of citizenship.

Preliminary research shows that students exposed to robust civic engagement learning programs – like the REACT to FILM curriculum – are more likely to develop critical thinking skills, earn better grades, graduate from HS, enroll and graduate from college on time — and all while gaining a commitment to civic problem solving (Dávila & Mora, 2007; Northup & Brown, 2010; Brownell & Swaner, 2010).

This high school elective film course helps prepare students for informed, engaged participation in the civic and democratic life of their communities, states and nation — which is essential and consistent with the goals of increasing student achievement and closing the achievement gap.

Aligned with the Common Core State Standards, the REACT to FILM course is carefully designed to be totally non-partisan, and to cover areas such as bias and media literacy.

Each film/issue unit is full of content knowledge, but promotes civic engagement by ending with an action campaign element, so students learn to be active citizens.

The course includes multiple types of formative assessments, easy ways to differentiate instruction, and an emphasis on the Common Core speaking, listening, and writing standards. The metrics used to measure success are pre and post course surveys, as well as a comprehensive rubric to assess each student’s final paper or project.

Precedence is given to schools that serve socio-economically disadvantaged and minority students.

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