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UConn Students Putting Spotlight On Verplanck

Zshana Lee (foreground) and Kathrine Grant are freshmen at UConn but spending a good deal of time this semester at Verplanck Elementary School creating a documentary video as part of a service learning course.

The class is called Power, Privilege, and Public Education and gives students the chance “to explore the way public education shapes – and is shaped by – its many and diverse stakeholders.”

Zshana, Kathrine and classmate Madeleine Rusk are making a 5-minute (or so) documentary video that looks at subjects including -- as Zshana put it -- “the community here at Verplanck and the supports system that are in place.”

Ann Johnston, the assistant principal at Verplanck, has been coordinating things from the Verplanck end and says she is excited about the chance for a video to capture some of the many positive things going on at her school.

The UConn students meet as a class twice a week in Storrs, and then head in different directions for their group-work projects. The Verplanck team has visited twice, shooting video and conducting interviews, and is expected to be back at least once or twice more.

Their projects are due in April and are expected to be shared with the public -- including folks at Verplanck --  later in the month.

Zshana, who is interested in being an elementary school teacher, said the work so far has been enlightening. “I’m more informed about school now and I think that’s beneficial,” she said.

Kathrine, an aspiring high school English teacher, concurred, saying, “this has definitely made me want to get more involved in teaching.”

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