School Sleuth: The Case of an Excellent School (PBS)
Winner 2000 | Learning Matters, Inc. and The Merrow Report, New York
What constitutes excellence in education? Based on years of reporting in schools all over the country, School Sleuth: The Case of an Excellent School probes five aspects of schooling in its search for excellence-safety, the curriculum, the physical environment, the adults in the building, and the school’s sense of purpose. This pragmatic piece is framed in a clever and entertaining way. Using parody of film noir, veteran journalist and former teacher John Merrow becomes a “school sleuth,” a private detective hired by a mother to solve “The Case of the Excellent School.” These jocular scenes are sprinkled throughout the program and help bring home a serious point: there are many more ways to evaluate schools than examining test scores and college acceptance rates. In creating these informative, appealing and out-of-the-ordinary vignettes executive producer John Merrow works with writer/producer John D. Tulenko, associate producers Tania Brief, Alexis Kessler, and Lisa McHenry and director Simon Verlaque. Creatively presented against a backdrop of vouchers and choice, in what should be required viewing for schools and parents, a Peabody Award is presented to School Sleuth: The Case of an Excellent School for its straightforward, witty approach to imparting its crucial message to the general public.
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