50 Films. A Day in the Life of an American School District.

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David Gieselman and Teresa Totaro

Teresa Totaro teaches 2nd grade at McKinley K-8 school. Her son, David Gieselman, also attends McKinley - and is in the second grade.

McKinley K-8


Marvin Hatchett

Marvin Hatchett works as the Security Guard at Wilson Middle School during the day and switches hats after school to become the volunteer choir and instrumental music instructor. He has been working and volunteering at in the district for over 20 years.

Wilson Middle School


Merissa Shnorhokian

Merissa Shnorhokian is a 6th grader at Wilson Middle School. She enjoys school, her friends and her robotics class. Merissa believes that public school is helping prepare her for the real world.

Wilson Middle School


Roxanne DuBoucheron

Roxanne DuBoucheron is a music teacher who works with several schools in Pasadena. She teaches kids how to play all sorts of instruments - from violin and cello to brass and woodwinds to the drums. Ms. DuBoucheron knows that music can be an outlet for students who may not be the best at math or reading.

Jefferson and Willard Elementary & Washington Middle


Ian Short

Ian Short is an active 7th grade student who deals with the challenge of being autistic. He likes playing catch, video games, and hanging out with his classmates.

Sierra Madre Middle School


Joanna Ting

Joanna Ting, a third grader at Field Elementary School, is enrolled in the Dual Language Mandarin Immersion Program. She can read and write in two languages, and talk to her Chinese grandmother in Mandarin on the phone.

Field Elementary


Devin Perry

Ninth grader Devin Perry attends Muir High School's Arts, Entertainment, and Media Academy. Devin's goal is to be the first in her family to graduate from college, and to set a good example for her younger siblings.

Muir High School


Carolyn, Jackelyn and Marilyn Travis

Twelfth grade twins Marilyn and Jackelyn and their eighth grade sister Carolyn attend Marshall Secondary School. The girls, who spent a portion of their childhood in foster care, run the Buddy Club - a program that pairs young Marshall students with older student mentors.

Marshall Secondary School


Ramon Miramontes

Outspoken Ramon Miramontes is the only Latino on the Pasadena Board of Education. In a district where 60% of the students are Latino, his native Spanish-speaking skills make him popular with parents. But his blunt, confrontational nature has earned Mr. Miramontes enemies as well.

Pasdena Unified School District


Alison Garfinkel

English and history teacher Alison Garfinkel loves theatre, and shares her passion with her students by volunteering to direct McKinley School's production of Cinderella. A typical day for Ms. Garfinkel invlolves teaching Shakespeare to middle schoolers, practicing improvisation with kindergarteners, choreographing dance numbers, and finding a glass slipper.

McKinley K-8


Ana Rodriguez

Ana Rodriguez is the ceramics teacher at Norma Coombs Elementary. Her students learn to paint ceramic tiles and create coil pots.

Norma Coombs Elementary


Elizabeth "Bess" Brandow

Bess Brandow is a very busy fifth grader at Webster Elementary School. Along with keeping up with her schoolwork, Bess plays the guitar and is a Girl Scout.

Webster Elementary


Rosie Rutt

Little Rosie is a happy-go-lucky redhead who loves drawing with chalk, playing with her friends, and spending time with her family. She attends Sierra Madre Elementary's K/1st Inclusion Program, where children with special needs are fully integrated into a regular classroom.

Sierra Madre Elementary


Adrienne D. Lett

Adrienne Lett is the president of the ahtletic booster club at Muir High School, where her children attend and her teen-aged daughter plays softball. Ms. Lett realizes the importance of being involved in her childrens' lives, and hopes to convince other parents to support the team as well.

Muir High School


Benjamin Lambert

Chemistry teacher Benjamin Lambert believes that the key to being an effective teacher is recognizing that all students have potential. He's popular amongst his students at Pasadena High School and their families because he has the ability to make scienece fun and interesting.

Pasadena High School


Frances Collins-Moore

Frances Collins-Moore is a guidance counselor at Marshall Fundamental High School. She recognizes the importance of educating and guiding young students, but fears that budget cuts and overcrowded classrooms are keeping kids from realizing their full potential.

Marshall Fundamental Secondary School


Abigail "Abby" Griffith

Abby Griffith and her twin are 2nd graders in San Rafael Elementary School's Dual Language Spanish Immersion Program. She is learning how to read and write (and sing) in two languages.

San Rafael Elementary


Jodie West

Jodie teaches science to Kindergarten through 5th grade at Washington Accelerated Elementary School. She is a self-proclaimed "bit of a nerd" and considers all her students budding engineers. Jodie is also a mom to twin 5 year old boys who attend Washington and an 18 month old boy.

Washington Accelerated Elementary


Esmeralda Cerezo

Esmeralda Cerezo is a single mother of four. She volunteers every day at the Healthy Start center at Madison Elementary, where her youngest two children go to school. Though Esmeralda is tattooed and tough-looking, she is a kind, involved mom who hopes to inspire her children to go further with their education.

Madison Elementary


Alex Schultz

Alex Schultz is an art teacher at Pasadena High School's Creative Arts Media and Design Academy (CAMAD). His students' assignments include "paint your fears," designing posters, and painting murals.

Pasadena High School


Joel Lopez

Joel Lopez is the high school band director at Marshall Secondary School. He educates his class of aspiring rock stars and jazz musicians by day, then takes care of his baby daughter by night.

Marshall Secondary School


Amy Zeronian

Amy Zeronian is an 11th grade student at Marshall Fundamental High School who plays softball and volleyball. A gifted scholar and athlete, she has already accepted a scholarship to play softball in college. Amy is also involved in drama, and is running for ASB representative.

Marshall Secondary School


Benjamin Graves

Benjamin Graves is a junior at Rose City High School, Pasadena’s alternative high school. At Rose City, Benjamin is involved with the student leadership board and he hopes to return to Blair High School next year.

Rose City High School


Angel Balcazar

Angel Balcazar is a 3rd grade student at Roosevelt Elementary. He is in a wheelchair and has a condition that affects his muscle control, but he is a bright and eager child who likes art and playing with his toy cars.

Roosevelt Elementary


Donnetha Wallace

Donnetha Wallace is a culinary arts teacher and the program chair of the Culinary and Hospitality Pathway at Blair High School. She loves to cook, and enjoys sharing her passion with her students.

Blair High School


Whitney Reese

Whitney Reese teaches second grade at Jackson Elementary. She lives across the street and, as a child, attended the school. Not surprisingly, Jackson is like a second home to Ms. Reese. She shares her love of yoga with her students, and teaches them about herbs and gardening.

Jackson Elementary School


Maura Large

Middle school librarian Maura Large teaches students at Eliot Middle School how to use the computers and library resources. This experience is invaluable to the kids, but she, and all secondary school librarians in Pasadena, were laid off at the end of the year due to budget cuts.

Eliot Middle School


Jon Gundry

Jon Gundry is the Superintendent in Pasadena. Running the district is a challenging job, and Superintendent Gundry's day involves not only supervising the schools, but also dealing with dissent amongst employees and criticism from the community.

Pasdena Unified School District


Angelica Vargas

Angelica Vargas is a hard-working eleventh grader enrolled in Blair High School's International Baccalaureate program. Angelica is an honors student who plays the piano and swims competitively, but her mother worries about her because she often studies late into the night.

Blair High School


Gareth Seigel

High school English and Math teacher Gareth Seigel works with students that most other teachers have given up on. By forging a personal relationship with these high-risk teenagers, Mr. Seigel inspires them to strive for a brighter future.

Center for Independent Student (CIS) Academy


Felix Lopez

Custodian Felix Lopez is the hardest working guy at Washington Middle School. As a child, poverty kept Mr. Lopez from finishing school. Now, he's a mentor to the students at Washington, and attempts to give his 10th grade daughter the opportunities he never had.

Washington Middle School


Samantha Harris

Samantha Harris is a fifth grade student at Longfellow Elementary School. Throughout the day she practices Karate at school, plays the violin, and explains everything about Archie comics.

Longfellow Elementary


Coach Parisi

Coach Parisi loves his job - coaching baseball at Pasadena High School. He leads his boys to a victory at home against Glendale High, and prepares for the game against their rival team, Muir.

Pasadena High School


Amy Taylor

Amy Taylor is an early childhood school psychologist at the Hodges Early Intervention Center. She assesses preschool-aged children for autism and other developmental disorders.

Hodges Early Intervention Center


Kathleen Bautista

Kathleen Bautista teaches kindergarten through 2nd grade students with special needs at Don Benito elementary school. She is proud of her students as they progress from barely verbal to engaged and capable.

Don Benito Elementary


Gilbert Barraza

If you want to get on principal Gilbert Barraza's good side, put away your cell phone! Living by Malcom X's mantra of "Everything I do today is urgent," Mr. Barraza is actively involved with his students at Pasadena High School, and strives to lead them towards pursuing a college education.

Pasadena High School


Gloria Reynolds

Gloria Reynolds, a volunteer at Altadena Elementary, proves that there is no age limit for helping to make your community a better place. A retired teacher, she knows that public education is essential to democracy and learning is a lifelong process.

Altadena Elementary


Gustavo Alonso

Gustavo Alonso is in the sixth grade at Eliot Middle School. He likes building robots, reads aloud from his writing journal about why money alone won't make you happy, and plays catch with his friends at the park.

Eliot Middle School


Esther Chun

Esther Chun is a third-grade teacher at Franklin Elementary School. Her sweet personality and emphasis on character make her popular with the kids, but as a relatively new teacher, she is in danger of being laid off due to budget cuts.

Franklin Elementary


Michelle Moreno

Michelle Moreno is a feisty, athletic Mexican-American 10th grader. She attends Blair High School's Health Careers Academy, and is committed to joining the US Army upon graduation. Michelle is inspired by the memory of her late father, who taught her to always stand up for herself.

Blair High School


Eileen Roth

Eileen Roth is a veteran librarian who has been at PUSD for over 40 years. Her library is designed to feel like a castle or a magical place, complete with dragon! Ms. Roth allows students and their parents to check out books whenever they like.

Longfellow Elementary


Kenia Loyola

Sixteen-year-old Kenia is an outstanding student who attends Muir High School's Engineering and Environmental Science Academy. At Muir, she has the chance to work on a student-run farm, where she learns about growing crops and running a business. She is involved in many clubs and leadership programs on campus as well.

Muir High School


Samantha Gale

PHS junior Samantha Gale wakes up for school at 5:30 every morning. She works hard in her classes, volunteers as a tutor at Altadena Elementary (where her mother works), and is very involved in the Army JROTC program. As a Cadet, Samantha learns leadership and life skills and cultivates a network of close friends.

Pasadena High School


Gabriel Estrada

Gabriel Estrada is a student at Muir High School's Business and Entrepreneurship Academy. His class projects range from creating a business portfolio to hammering nails into a running shoe to represent "irony."

Muir High School


Linda Wittry

Linda Wittry is the International Baccalaureate Primary Years coordinator at Willard Elementary School. She likes to spend most of her time in the classroom, where she teaches everything from science and writing to line dancing and guitar.

Willard Elementary


Connie De La Torre

Connie DeLaTorre is a community assistant at Jefferson Elementary School. From making coffee to managing money to speaking at board meetings, "the woman with a thousand jobs" makes everyone's life a little bit less stressful.

Jefferson Elementary


Mary Ting

Mary Ting is a 7th grade student enrolled in Blair Middle School's International Baccalaureate (IB) Middle Years program. She enjoys going to public school because it keeps her "entertained," and because she gets to see her friends and learn interesting things.

Blair Middle School


Eric Gothold

Eric Gothold is a musician, theatre guy, and former art teacher. For the last 20 years, "Mr. G" has also been the assistant principal at Washington Middle School, where he works hard to synthesize his administrative responsibilities and artistic inclinations.

Washington Middle School


Shannon Malone

New principal Shannon Malone believes she can truly make a difference at Cleveland Elementary, where she connects with the students and community, with a focus on personal growth.

Cleveland Elementary


Frances Weissenberger

Frances Weissenberger, a former teacher, is the principal of Hamilton Elementary School. Ms. Weisenberger knows that once she walks through the doors of her school, anything can happen, and the day she planned on having is rarely ever the day she gets.

Hamilton Elementary

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