Jeremy And Dustin Say: “Teach Here!”

This past spring, Staples students Jeremy Dreyfuss and Dustin Lowman were casting about for an interesting end-of-the-year senior internship.

Media production teacher Jim Honeycutt wanted something real, authentic and important for them.

Meanwhile, superintendent of schools Elliott Landon and director of human resources Marge Cion needed a video to show job candidates — potential teachers — what the Westport school district is all about.

It sounded like a great idea.  But it turned out nothing like what the educators expected.

Whew.

“I originally thought it would be a recruitment-type thing — very factual, not real personal,” Dr. Landon says.

That’s not what Jeremy and Dustin had in mind.

The longtime friends decided to revisit their old schools, and talk to former teachers.

They took their video camera to King’s Highway Elementary  School and Coleytown Middle.  There — and of course at Staples — they conducted interviews and shot film.  They researched the schools and town, added special footage, and produced a professional-looking video that gives anyone considering teaching here a unique teenage/inside view of the system.

Which, now that the Westport educators think about it, is entirely the point.

“This really makes a memorable impression,” Dr. Landon notes.  “Their personal insights and affection for the district really come across strongly.  It’s very creative and different.”

In the video, Jeremy and Dustin say that they continue to visit former teachers.  They add, “some of our deepest connections” were made in school.

They filmed a wide variety of teachers:  men and women of different ages, backgrounds and subject matters.

The seniors asked questions like “How did you end up in Westport?”  And, “What do kept you here?”

The answers — delivered in each teacher’s personal style — include concepts like “the environment,” “the experiences,” “the challenge,” “being in the forefront” and “learning from colleagues.”

And — over and over and over again — “the kids.”

Dr. Landon proudly posted the video on the district website’s human resources page.

Before clicking “play,” prospective teachers learn that students here are empowered to use their creativity.

Once they watch the 12-minute video, potential applicants are even more impressed.

“If someone is looking for an environment in which kids themselves say they had a fabulous experience — they loved their teachers, learned a lot and grew here — that will have a real positive impact on the type of people we’re trying to attract,” Dr. Landon says.

Who will then influence the next generations of Dustin Lowmans and Jeremy Dreyfusses, who in turn…

8 responses to “Jeremy And Dustin Say: “Teach Here!”

  1. Nice job by the students. In the 1980’s, the town put out a VHS recording of “Welcome to Westport” that also reeked of exceptionalism. With an 84 million dollar high school and a 93 million dollar budget, I should expect that Westport is at the “forefront” in this country. But that is what they said about the Titantic too. Public education is a disgrace in this country. The sooner we realize that, the sooner the problem is confronted and hopefully, dealt with. The video is nothing more than a propaganda film. “We be special” should be the new mascot.

  2. I thought the video was outstanding. The students did a great job. While I won’t go as far as McGEE, I will say that every where I have lived, they always say the schools are the best. For my kids sake, I hope they are right here.

  3. Jo Ann Davidson

    Good job by Lowman and Dreyfuss. They didn’t try to get in every school and Principal, but got the flavor. Maybe Special Ed could have been mentioned. As a retired teacher, I didn’t think it is “propaganda”. We are proud of our schools and we pay for good education.

    Jo Ann Davidson

  4. The Dude Abides

    If you have to pound on your chest all the time to tell everybody how good you are, you, most likely, will have a hard time breathing. Money does not correlate with good education. Good teachers do. Westport schools produce well rounded, well behaved White kids who go on to 2nd and 3rd tier colleges like most suburban schools. They might perform better if there wasn’t so much expectation on them? The cheers are deafening.

  5. Or a suckled cow.

  6. So two participants in the Staples Senior Internship Program were asked to create a factual recruitment video for prospective employees. Instead, they created a wonderful and somewhat emotional tribute to the teachers who shaped their education. Then Dan Woog posts a story about the video and all of a sudden, it is characterized as a “propaganda” piece created to “pound your chest all the time to tell everybody how good you are.” People may debate the quality of our school system forever, despite the continued achievements of our students, but the cynical tone and nasty comments that are posted on this blog paint a sad picture of life in Westport.