Funded! This project was successfully funded on December 30, 2012.

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Hurricane Katrina decimated New Orleans’ public schools. This film charts their rebirth as a system of charter schools.

The future is now! We need your support!
The future is now! We need your support!

A fascinating story about community, leadership, and educational access, REBIRTH: New Orleans follows the incredible transformation of New Orleans’ public school system after the devastation of Hurricane Katrina.

Because you care about education and the future of our schools, teachers and children, you need to know what is happening in New Orleans.

Watch the extended trailer:

ABOUT THE FILM

In 2004, not even one-third of 8th graders in New Orleans could pass a state reading test.  In some schools, the number was lower – just 4 percent.

Since then New Orleans public schools have been transformed.  Test scores have risen steadily outpacing every other district in Louisiana.  Graduation rates are up, dropout rates are down.

How did they do it?  When Hurricane Katrina shut down the city and its schools, an unexpected opportunity emerged for the city to start over. The result could change the future of public education in America.  Today the city is 80% on its way to becoming the nation’s first all charter school district, perhaps a future model for the nation.

A KIPP Principal greets students before school
A KIPP Principal greets students before school

But it hasn’t been easy, no one is declaring victory, and the new system has its critics. We’ve been following the journey since fall of 2005, just weeks after Hurricane Katrina hit.  Embedding ourselves in schools, homes and board meetings, we’ve witnessed mistakes and outright failures but also great accomplishments.

John Merrow (right) with former school superintendent Paul Vallas
John Merrow (right) with former school superintendent Paul Vallas

Long-time education journalist and 2012 McGraw Prize recipient John Merrow began following the story for the nightly news program, the NewsHour on PBS, in 2005.  Seven years later, he says it is the most remarkable story he has covered in nearly 40 years on the job.  With our vast and unique archive of coverage, we  knew we had history on our hands, a history that must be widely shared.  

Music is an important learning tool for students in New Orleans.
Music is an important learning tool for students in New Orleans.


REBIRTH: New Orleans weaves stories of students, teachers, parents, education leaders, activists and critics into a human saga of what happened when a city's education system was turned upside down.  At a time when public education and school reform are hot-button topics nationwide, this film cuts through the hype to reveal what it takes to make real change.

WHY WE NEED YOUR SUPPORT

All of the filming and most of the editing for REBIRTH: New Orleans are complete. Thanks to the generosity of New Orleans jazz great Wynton Marsalis, the film has an amazing musical score.  We need your support to cover the final costs of finishing the film, which include sound mixing, color correction, animation, graphic design, line editing, and building a website for the film. 

Most pressingly, we need money for a grassroots outreach campaign. We envision partnering with people all over the country and the world, to screen REBIRTH: New Orleans and host panel discussions about the lessons learned.

Learning Matters, Inc is a registered 501 (c) 3 non-profit organization. All contributions to Learning Matters are tax deductible to the fullest extent of the law.

Risks and challenges Learn about accountability on Kickstarter

The timeliness of finishing REBIRTH: New Orleans is crucial. This story is still unfolding, involving movements and reforms that can dramatically impact our children’s future - which is why it is so important we finish this film now.

Kickstarter fundraising is all or nothing. If we are unable to reach our goal in 30 days, all pledges are returned. But we can do it with your help!

You can spread the word by linking to our Kickstarter campaign on your Facebook page and Twitter feed. Tell others that you support our project. Ask them to do the same.

Like us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/learningmatters
Follow us on Twitter: https://twitter.com/learningmatters

This is a word-of-mouth campaign, where success relies on people being aware of it.

Once we are funded, some challenges will remain. Cutting the film down to fit broadcast length requirements is one. We are working with a archive footage and mixed formats and aspect ratios (for example 4:3 standard definition video mixed with HD), which can cause delays in color correction and on-line editing. Our graphic animation needs to be finalized in terms of style and design. In this complicated story, facts are important, and we need the right vision to present them graphically. With your support, we will meet these challenges!

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    Thank you, DIXIE level supporters. We'll put you on our exclusive list, send you a special e-thank you from the team, AND you'll get a facebook/twitter shoutout!

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    34 backers

    Thank you! As a FRENCH QUARTER level supporter, you will receive a digital download of the film when it's finished. You made it happen! (We'll give you a shout-out and put you on our list, too.)

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    20 backers

    Thank you! As a JAZZ level supporter, you'll be rewarded with all of the above, PLUS you'll also get a signed advance copy of the film on DVD before it's released, complete with DVD-only extras.

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    1 backer

    Thank you, SAINTS! In addition to all of the above, you'll have a choice of 2 tote bag designs, so you can show off your support for New Orleans and this film! You can check out the designs here: http://bit.ly/NOLAtote

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    25 backers

    Thank you! As a CAPTAIN level supporter, you'll be rewarded with all of the above and be CREDITED as a SUPPORTER of the film on the website. To show our gratitude, we'll include your choice of any additional program from Learning Matters' catalogue, which you can peruse here: http://learningmatters.bigcartel.com/

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    7 backers

    Thank you! It's the CRESCENT level. You'll get all the benefits above, plus you’ll be CREDITED as a SUPPORTER on the DVD version of the film! We'll include an AUTOGRAPHED copy of John Merrow’s acclaimed book 'The Influence of Teachers' as well. See http://theinfluenceofteachers.com/ for more info.

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    2 backers

    Thank you! At the PRALINE level, you'll enjoy all of the benefits above, including DVD CREDIT. You'll also get a BACKSTAGE PASS for 2 to see John Merrow live at the JCC in Manhattan. We'll send you your choice of up to 4 DVDs or totes, because -just like PRALINES- you can't have just one...

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    9 backers

    Thank you! It's the CARNIVAL level, dear friend. You'll have the benefit of all of the above, PLUS 2 tickets to an EXCLUSIVE SCREENING of REBIRTH in New Orleans, New York, or Palo Alto. We can't pay your travel costs, but we can guarantee a meaningful evening that you'll be proud to say that you made happen!

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    2 backers

    Thank you! At the REX level. You'll get all of the above, PLUS DINNER for two with John Merrow. You choose the date, we’ll choose the restaurant. (A nice one!)

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    Thank you! At this MARDI GRAS level, you'll get all of the above, plus an exclusive BACKSTAGE TOUR of PBS NEWSHOUR in Washington, DC. Come behind the scenes and see this landmark broadcast unfold. You'll also get SPECIAL CREDIT as an Associate Producer on the dvd version of the film. Lastly, you'll get a special gift sometime later in 2013.

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Funding period

- (30 days)