Halstead Academy featured in documentary about President Obama’s My Brother’s Keeper initiative


For four full days, a documentary film crew went into homes and classrooms to explore the success of Halstead Academy in raising the academic achievement of its black male students. Excerpts from this footage are featured in “Rise," which had a red carpet premiere on Thursday, June 18, as part of the American Film Institute’s documentary film festival at the Newseum in Washington, D.C.

Students Justin Prudent, Keon Ransom, and Noah Ibrahim (who were featured in the film) walked the red carpet at the premiere along with teachers and administrators from Halstead, Superintendent Dance and other BCPS employees. The night was a perfect way to showcase the commitment of Team BCPS staff and students.

“This was the most amazing night,” said Jennifer Mullenax, principal of Halstead Academy and recently selected Baltimore County Public Schools’ Principal of the Year. “The film is perfect!”

BCPS Video

According to Mullenax, Superintendent Dance recommended to the Discovery Channel that Halstead Academy be included in the film.

“He told them that if they wanted to see an example of a school that has closed the achievement gap between black and white students, they should look at us," she said.

Currently, African American students at Halstead outperform their peers at comparable schools in both mathematics and reading.

Mullenax credits the school’s success to the sense of community the school has.

“This school is truly the center of this community, and the documentary captures that. We all have the same goal of our kids meeting with success,” Mullenax said. “Families trust us, and we have outstanding teachers who will do whatever it takes to make sure that our kids succeed. We have made a significant turnaround in five years. The data shows that, and you can feel it."

Filming at Halstead Academy included camera crews following Justin and Keon from their homes and throughout an entire school day as well as interviewing Noah, Mullenax, and Halstead teachers.

The film will be simulcast on Discovery Channel and OWN (the Oprah Winfrey Network) on Sunday, June 21, at 7 p.m. There is also currently a link to the film on Facebook (


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