Private Project

Petersburg Rising

This a common American Story of economic boom-to-bust, with an unusual twist: an extraordinary group of leaders entered the picture to turn the tide by investing in children and their education. Petersburg was to be their model for the state, and perhaps the nation. Yet challenges remain enormous.
For more than a decade, Petersburg schools struggled, failed, and even lacked basic accreditation. Students dropped out in large numbers and faced tough times at home in one of the poorest communities in the state. Their future was bleak. Generations of children were lost.
When the superintendent of the neighboring district announced his retirement from a large, wealthy, successful district to act on his second doctorate in divinity, he was asked if he would consider instead running the poorest and lowest performing district in the state. This is that story, told through the struggles… and triumphs of 5 students we followed for a year.
The film, by Alan Blankstein and the National Center for Education and Innovation, takes you on a journey of second chances and hope for the future!

  • Alan M Blankstein
  • Rory Pullens
  • David Yosha
  • Alan M Blankstein
  • Alan M Blankstein
  • Dr Marcus Newsome
    Key Cast
  • Trey Songz
    Key Cast
  • Sam Parham
    Key Cast
  • James Taylor
    Key Cast
    "United Way CEO"
  • Rosalyn Dance
    Key Cast
  • Bill Hazel
    Key Cast
    "Commissioner Health & Human Services"
  • Ann Holton
    Key Cast
    "Commissioner of Education"
    Key Cast
  • Project Type:
  • Runtime:
    57 minutes 3 seconds
  • Production Budget:
    280,000 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
    United States
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
    Panasonic EVA-1 and Sony FS7
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
  • Richmond International Film Festival
    United States
    September 8, 2021
    North American Premiere
    2021 Audience Choice Award for Best Documentary Feature
Director Biography - David Yosha, Alan M Blankstein

Alan is Senior Editor, lead contributor, and/or author of 18 books, including Excellence Through Equity with Pedro Noguera, and the best-selling Failure Is Not an Option®: Six Principles That Guide Student Achievement in High-Performing Schools, which received the Book of the Year award from Learning Forward. Alan has contributed to broadcasts on NPR, PBS, ABC Radio, and written some 20 Op-Ed pieces and Articles for leading education print including Education Week, Ed Leadership The School Administrator, Executive Educator, and The Principal.

A former “high-risk” youth, Alan began his career in education as a music teacher. He worked for Phi Delta Kappa, March of Dimes, and Solution Tree, which he founded in 1987 and directed for 12 years while launching Professional Learning Communities beginning in the late 1980s. He then Formed the HOPE Foundation, while advocating for young people via district-wide reform and keynotes for virtually every major U.S. Ed Org, and throughout the UK, Africa, and the Middle East.

Alan has served on the Harvard International Principals Centers advisory board, and the Jewish Child Care Agency, where he once was a youth in residence.

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