OYLER profiles how an innovative "community school" helped fuel a dramatic turnaround in a poverty-stricken neighborhood, part of a growing national movement to help poor children succeed by transforming schools to meet basic health, social, and nutritional needs.
Before 2006, very few kids from the Lower Price Hill area in Cincinnati finished high school, much less went to college. The neighborhood is Urban Appalachian — an insular community with roots in the coal mining towns of Kentucky and West Virginia. The local Oyler School only went through 8th grade. After that, rather than ride the bus out of the neighborhood for high school, most kids dropped out.
Under long-time Principal Craig Hockenberry’s leadership, Oyler School was transformed into a “community learning center,” serving kids from preschool through 12th grade. Oyler is now open year-round, from early morning until late at night. The school provides breakfast, lunch and dinner, and sends hungry kids home with food on weekends. Students can walk down the hall to access a health clinic, vision center, and mental health counseling.
Oyler's students are now graduating from high school and matriculating to college in record numbers. Oyler has graduated more students in the neighborhood from high school in the recent years than in the collective 85 prior years
Based on the award-winning Marketplace radio series "One School, One Year," OYLER takes viewers through a year at the school, focusing on Hockenberry’s mission to transform a community, and on senior Raven Gribbins’ quest to be the first in her troubled family to finish high school and go to college.