Cheryl Hines' Tips for a Renovation Revolution at Your School [Interview] [Video Trailer]

Imagine hating going to work. It’s not a stretch for many adults, but imagine that reason is because when you sit down at your dilapidated desk (if there’s one for you) you have to look at a banged up bulletin board and dodge an occasional ceiling tile that dislodges and falls to the floor, which a cockroach crawls across. Your boss isn’t enthusiastic about being there either because there aren’t many computers and the ones you do have don’t really work. At least you’re there, but none of your co-workers show up because they think it’s just not worth it, so there’s not a lot of peer engagement during the day. The water fountain doesn’t work so you can’t get a drink of water. The parking lot is overgrown so you’d rather not leave your car there. All in all it’s a pretty miserable experience. You’d quit, but that’s not really an option.
Now, imagine this scenario is a school. Again, it’s not a stretch. This scenario plays out in far too many schools across our entire country. There really are students in the U.S. who dodge ceiling tiles, don’t have working water fountains, are lacking vital technology, and guess day to day whether their classmates will even show up. You wouldn’t want to go to school either if you thought this was the level of care your community was willing to extend to you and your education. That’s why in places like Detroit the graduation rate is a dismal 54 percent. Just a hair more than half of that city’s high school seniors earn a diploma. That’s simply not good enough.
Cheryl Hines didn’t think it was good enough either. That’s why she, with a powerful team, joined forces to present an exciting and inspiring new show on NBC called “School Pride.” “[The show] has added to my life in a lot of major ways,” she says.
We spoke with executive producers Cheryl Hines, of Curb Your Enthusiasm fame, and Denise Cramsey, behind Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, about the new show and what it means for our students. You can hear the interview in its entirety, as they talk about the benefits to students and how to renovate your own school. Listen now, or continue reading to watch the full-length trailer.

How can you start a renovation revolution in your own community? Hines has some tips.
1. Engage the principal. Once this individual is on board, you’ve got a green light to start talking to all the right people and start enacting some major changes.
2. Have an organized plan. Rally the troops, put pen to paper, and map out the goals and how you’ll get there. It’s going to take a lot of man power, but together, you will see the finished project.
3. Connect with the community.

  • Reach out to businesses that specialize in something you’ll need to complete the project and ask them to get involved by donating.
  • Reach out to the school’s alumni for support and donations. If a parent or alum owns a construction company, paint store, computer store, etc. ask them to donate time, supplies and equipment.

Cramsey reminds that while they had the muscle of a TV show, at the end of the day they really did just pick up the telephone, start calling people, and asking the simple “will you help” question. A lot of people said yes.
It’s with a lot of heart and passion that Cheryl and Denise discuss School Pride, energy that will no doubt shine through in each episode and hopefully motivate teachers, students, parents and communities at large to roll up their sleeves and take back their schools and make them havens once again.
The show will travel to seven different schools this season, including Compton, Baton Rouge, Detroit and Nashville, and work with the students, parents and teachers to rebuild and transform their schools to make them new again. They are crucially necessary changes to make everyone want to get back in to the classroom.
Unlike many makeover shows, “This is a makeover by people not to people,” says Cramsey. “The goal is a national effort to fix our schools.”
Did it work? Cramsey and Hines think so, and so does the feedback. They followed up with the schools that received their help and found that at all of them attendance is up, classes are actively engaged, and the principals feel good about where the schools are today.
Tune in to School Pride on NBC Fridays starting October 15. Prepare to be inspired to enact change in your community.
Watch the full-length trailer now.