United Teachers of Dade joins UF in screening documentary about innovative inner-city teacher
“Discovering Gloria,” an inspiring documentary about a highly innovative Florida teacher, screened Jan. 22 at 6 pm at Miami Jackson Senior High School (1751 NW 36th St.). The 90-minute event was sponsored by the United Teachers of Dade (UTD) and the University of Florida Lastinger Center for Learning.
Directed and produced by award-winning documentary filmmaker Boaz Dvir, “Discovering Gloria” tells the story of former Duval Elementary School (Gainesville) teacher Gloria Jean Merriex’s transformation into a educational reform trailblazer and a national model.
The Jan. 22 screening featured a dialogue about teacher-quality and educational reform between the audience and a panel of experts, including UF Lastinger Center Director Don Pemberton, UTD First Vice President Tom Gammon, Miami-Dade Public Schools instructional coach Cyd Heyliger-Browne and former Merriex student Charlie Brown. Professional development expert Pedro Bermudez facilitated the discussion.
A thought-provoking 40-minute documentary, “Discovering Gloria” shows Merriex engaging her math and reading students at the most effective levels through her innovations, which included hip-hop and dance routines. Researchers describe how she broke vital new ground.
The film shows how she helped her school leap from an F (as determined by the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test) in 2002 to an A the following year.
In 2008, Merriex received a grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation to create a national curriculum using her innovations. The next day, she suffered a fatal diabetic stroke.
“Discovering Gloria” recently screened in Alachua, Pinellas and St. Johns counties.
The St. Augustine Record urged “all teachers” and “everyone responsible for deciding how to evaluate teachers” to watch “this fabulous documentary.”