SANTA MONICA-MALIBU UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT

PRESS RELEASE

 

CONTACT:  Devon Smith, Will Rogers E.S.                  FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

310.991.5048                                                                 25 MAY 2010

 

 

Santa Monica Fifth Graders Do “Detective” Work!

Hollywood Talent Collaborates with Santa Monica Fifth Grade Writers on Local Stage Production 

 

Fifth-graders of the Will Rogers Learning Community will shine at the 3rd Annual Story Detectives – a culminating production of six months of collaboration with professional writers, actors, and producers.

 

Story Detectives was created by Devon Smith, a fifth grade teacher at WRLC, and Donald Bull, a television / film producer and President of Intersection Productions.  What began as a dinner conversation between the two, blossomed into a pilot year in 2008 involving 20 students, 7 writers, and 5 actors.   Since then, the numbers quadrupled to 83 students, 25 writers, and 21 actors.

 

Story Detectives is a non-profit organization that mentors students as they detect stories and transform them into monologues with the guidance of professional writers. Students then witness their writing come to life on stage as local professional actors perform these monologues before a VIP audience.

 

"The kids discover stories all around them – in their family, school, and in the community,” says Bull.  “We help them put those stories into words."

 

“The greatest thing about Story Detectives,” says, fifth grade teacher Darwin Mendinueto, “is that a student who may not experience writing success in a traditional setting, can not only find inspiration, but experience success in writing for the first time.”

 

Featured actors include:  Matt Knudsen (Ghost Whisperer: the Other Side) and Alex Hyde-White (Pretty Woman, Tintin, and Catch Me If You Can).  Confirmed, honored guests include:  Parents and community partners of WRLC; SMMUSD administrators; SMMUSD school board members Kelly Pye and Ben Allen; One West Bank executives.

 

WHO:               5th Grade Students

WHAT:             3rd Annual Performance of Story Detectives

WHEN:             Sunday, June 6th.  5pm

WHERE:           Magicopolis Theater

                        1418 - 4th Street

                        Santa Monica, CA 90404

 

Background Information on Will Rogers Learning Community:

Will Rogers Learning Community (WRLC) is a Title I (K-5) school in the Santa Monica – Malibu Unified School District and is a recipient of the 2010 Title I Academic Achievement Award given by the California Department of Education.  WRLC serves a large and diverse population (528 students:  47% Hispanic/Latino, 30% White, 13% African American, 4% Asian and 6% Other) and it is a leading school in the area of technology.  Its innovative staff consists of 17 experienced faculty – some of whom participate in the esteemed Cotsen Art of Teaching Program.  Many possess post-graduate degrees, and are National Board Certified Teachers.  Rogers’ teachers stress college exposure and high expectations for all of its upper-grade students.  Visit www.rogers.smmusd.org for more information about WRLC.

 

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SANTA MONICA-MALIBU UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT

1651 16TH Street, Santa Monica, CA 90404

ph: 310.450.8338; fax: 310.581.1138

www.smmusd.org