Minnesota has among the worst achievement gaps in the country between black and white students. Within those statistics, Lucy Laney Elementary School, in North Minneapolis, has ranked at the bottom of the state’s underperforming schools for two decades.
Now, a documentary charting recent progress and setbacks at Lucy Laney airs on KARE 11 in Minnesota and western Wisconsin, as well as on other stations nationwide.
Filmmakers Lindsey Seavert and Ben Garvin saw an opportunity to go deeper while reporting on stories about Lucy Laney for KARE 11, according to North News. After building trust, they started to film the teachers, the families, and the students.
For more than a year, they followed principal Mauri Melander Friestleben’s efforts to raise standardized test scores and aid students struggling at home, with more than 80 percent of them living near or below the poverty line. What the journalists envisioned as a series became a full-length film, Love Them First: Lessons from Lucy Laney Elementary, supported by KARE 11 and parent company TEGNA. It premiered this past spring.
“The film is a window into a world that not many see,” Seavert told KARE 11. “Our unprecedented access to the school over one year enabled us to take viewers on an emotional journey of resilience and hope.”
After picking up accolades on the festival circuit, including at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Film Festival, the film airs on KARE 11 at 8 p.m. Thursday, September 12.