The New York City-based Rockefeller Foundation has awarded $975,000 to Columbia University's Teachers College, also in New York, to develop a multi-disciplinary curriculum and online resources based on When the Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts, an HBO documentary about Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath directed by Spike Lee.
Through the grant, teachers, schools, libraries, and community groups nationwide will receive free copies of the DVD and curriculum package beginning in late summer 2007. Published by Teachers College Press, "Teaching the Levees: A Curriculum of Civic Engagement to Accompany the HBO Documentary Film Event, Spike Lee's When the Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts," will reach an estimated thirty thousand classrooms and, through a public education campaign based on the documentary, will help educators and community leaders initiate dialogues about race and class in America.
In addition, the Teachers College Ed Lab at the Gottesman Libraries is designing and will host a Teaching the Levees Web site, which will provide information about the development of the project, additional resources for educators, and detailed information about how to request a copy of the curriculum and DVD package.
"The Hurricane Katrina experience provides a teachable moment to examine our expectations of each other as citizens," said Darren Walker, vice president, foundation initiatives, at the Rockefeller Foundation. "We believe that Teachers College has the expertise and experience to translate Spike Lee's masterful film into a curriculum for students to explore issues of race, class, poverty, and democracy in America."