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Ask me anything   Blog for Hollow, an interactive doc that examines the future small town America through the voices of Appalachians.
Take a scroll through small-town America: www.hollowdocumentary.com

twitter.com/hollowthefilm:

    Enrollment increased in 2012 reading camp
    [vimeo 83233295 w=853 h=480]

    BY: Hollow Admin
    CARETTA, W.Va.

    For the past five years Nikki Cavalier Rabel has spent her vacation week in a remote location: McDowell County, W.Va.

    “I tell people all the time, it’s America’s best-kept secret,” Rabel…

    View Post

    — 3 months ago
    #America  #appalachia  #education  #literacy camp  #McDowell  #pbs  #rural  #small town  #super why  #west virginia  #west virginia public broadcasting 
    Gary District High School before integration. 1953 yearbook submitted by Gary resident, Elaine Long. #WV #McDowell

    Gary District High School before integration. 1953 yearbook submitted by Gary resident, Elaine Long. #WV #McDowell

    — 1 year ago with 1 note
    #West Virginia  #mcdowell  #mcdowell county  #gary  #wv  #us steel  #gary district high school  #education  #1950s  #old photographs  #yearbook  #girl scouts 

    Congrats to Josh Clevenger who has been accepted to the Governor’s Honors Academy this July. We interviewed Josh back in December; he is such a positive representative of the McDowell County youth! He was the only one from the county to apply and get accepted to the program. He’s got an exciting life ahead of him and we’re excited to document it!

    — 2 years ago
    #mcdowell county  #education  #riverview  #high school  #josh clevenger  #hollow  #West Virginia 
    McDowell schools superintendent encouraged by improvement, needs recruiting tools →
    Despite a state takeover of the McDowell County education system in 2001, little progress had been made until the appointment of a new superintendent 2 years ago.

    “I did come in with a 30-day and a 90-day plan, threw those out in 24 hours,” said Jim Brown. “It took me a while to grasp where the building block was and where we needed to go from there and try to improve the system.”

    Brown is from Tyler County, some would say a world away from McDowell.

    He taught school in Tyler County for several years, took a position at the county education office, and then took a position with the State Department of Education.

    But Brown has made McDowell his home for now, and turning things around for a student population that ranks last is his mission.

    He says he relies on the data, and it is improving.

    “Are we in the top 20% in the state? By no means,” he said. “It’s not where we want to be but it’s a foundation for us to get stronger, I really believe that.”

    — 2 years ago
    #mcdowell  #mcdowell county  #reconnecting mcdowell  #West Virginia  #appalachia  #education  #iniative 
    'Brain Drain': Put a Stopper in Your Mouth →

    A few years ago, at a conference about the woes of rural America, one speaker really caught my attention with a very simple message. “Never say ‘rural brain drain,’” She told us. “Think about it.” She pointed out that to say “brain drain” in a rural community is basically telling everyone  present — the people who stayed — that they’re dumb. You’re implying they somehow missed the boat and are demonstrating low IQ just by being rural. 

    — 2 years ago with 8 notes
    #rural brain drain  #united states  #towns  #rural  #education  #economy 
    Reconnecting McDowell to improve schools, strengthen infrastructure →

    WELCH — Three McDowell County elementary schools have been selected to start new literary and early childhood programs as part of the Reconnecting McDowell project aimed at improving performance and quality of life for county students.

    McDowell County Superintendent Jim Brown said Welch Elementary, Iaeger Elementary and Bradshaw Elementary schools will be the focus of the non-profit organization Save the Children’s literacy programs.

    — 2 years ago with 5 notes
    #mcdowell county  #West Virginia  #news  #reconnecting mcdowell  #welch  #elementary  #iaeger  #bradshaw  #nonprofit  #schools  #education  #children  #literacy  #program  #aft 
    How Do We Move Mountains? →

    HUFFINGTON POST

    As we set off for the hollows of McDowell County two Thursdays ago, news broke that half of our nation’s people now qualify as ‘poor’ or ‘low-income’. Given the stubbornly tight link between family incomes and student outcomes, it will take many such coordinated efforts to ensure a high quality education and meaningful economic opportunities for all of America’s children.

    In other words, as Gayle Manchin (Vice President of the West Virginia Board of Education) noted, “we have to move mountains” in order to make a difference for these kids. With a witty laugh, she added, “But here in McDowell County, people know how to move mountains. We’ve done it before! We’re strong and resilient people; [our forebears] had to be in order to get over those mountains, and we’ve had to be in order to survive here.”

    — 2 years ago
    #reconnecting mcdowell  #education  #gayle manchin  #West Virginia  #mcdowell county  #aft  #American Federation of Teachers 

    This evening I had an awesome interview with Joshua Clevenger of Iaeger, W.Va. Josh is the mascot for Riverview High School, is active with community theatre and has big dreams of becoming a director and actor/comedian. The Clevenger family graciously welcomed me into their home where Josh talked about how his upbringing and environment formed him into the independent and ambitious spirit he is today. I look forward to working with Josh more as he helps bring more youth into the project to shoot their own docs to be featured in Hollow. He also did some great impersonations for me including, Paul McCartney, John Lennon and Adam Sandler from “The Waterboy.”

    — 2 years ago with 3 notes
    #joshua clevenger  #josh  #iaeger  #west virginia  #wv  #riverview high school  #education  #mcdowell county  #Elaine McMillion  #hollow  #interactive documentary  #mascot 

    MSNBC: Morning Joe, “Low-performing schools in rural county get a new boost”

    Gayle Manchin and AFT President Randi Weingarten talk about Reconnecting McDowell a 3-5 year partnership which focuses on instruction, recruitment and retention of teachers, as well as housing, transportation, job creation and social issues. She also talks about the partners of the program including unions, Frontier, Energy companies, Cisco, Blue Cross/Blue Shield, among others.

    I am very curious to find out more about their “comprehensive plan.” I will be following this development and hope that they hold all of their promises to the community…McDowell County can’t afford any more false hope.

    The timing of this announcement couldn’t be more alligned with Hollow. Ry Rivard and I have been developing and talking about doing a project about WVa’s issue with rural brain drain since 2009. I started doing the groundwork this August and will be shooting all next summer. I hope that we can see some improvements from Reconnecting McDowell while filming for the interactive documentary.

    — 2 years ago with 6 notes
    #American Federation of Teachers  #aft  #bennedum foundation  #coal mining  #education  #gail manchin  #gayle manchin  #mcdowell county  #reconnecting mcdowell  #Elaine McMillion  #hollow  #interactive documentary  #production 
    The Washington Post published a photo story on McDowell County after news about the American Federation of Teacher’s “Reconnecting McDowell.” Ed Shephard was featured in the article along with members of the board of education and local families. See the WaPo gallery here. And read the full story here.
I interviewed Ed Shepherd back in August in his business in Welch. See the short video here.

    The Washington Post published a photo story on McDowell County after news about the American Federation of Teacher’s “Reconnecting McDowell.” Ed Shephard was featured in the article along with members of the board of education and local families. See the WaPo gallery here. And read the full story here.

    I interviewed Ed Shepherd back in August in his business in Welch. See the short video here.

    — 2 years ago with 1 note
    #mcdowell county  #west virginia  #ed shephard  #welch  #atf  #union  #news  #education  #rural  #appalachia  #hollow  #interactive documentary  #Elaine McMillion 
    APNewsBreak: Corp. America, unions, nonprofits unite to rescue failing W.Va. school district →

    McDowell County schools continue to struggle despite a decade under state control, with West Virginia’s worst dropout rate and lagging behind all or most other counties in reading, science and math. The county also suffers from one of the lowest median incomes in the country, and ranks high for the percentage of residents living in poverty, according to the latest U.S. Census Bureau figures. Drug abuse and prescription painkiller overdoses are an issue as well.

    Organizers say Reconnecting McDowell envisions the county’s schools becoming hubs for much-needed social and health-related services. With some areas lacking even dial-up access to the Internet, the project aims to expand broadband and cell phone coverage. Other thorny topics facing the partnership include economic development, transportation and housing.

    READ FULL STORY HERE

    — 2 years ago with 1 note
    #mcdowell county  #elaine mcmillion  #documentary  #west virginia  #census bureau  #statistics  #education  #rural  #reconnecting mcdowell  #manchin  #tomblin  #hollow