Local Events Focus on Students with Emotional, Behavioral Disabilities

Emmy-Nominated Filmmaker to Screen “Who Cares About Kelsey?” 

Portrait of KelseyA series of events in April will look at the tough road that students with emotional and behavioral problems face in school and spark new conversations about an education revolution that empowers emotionally and behaviorally challenged youth. Filmmaker Dan Habib, who made the documentary Who Cares About Kelsey?, and subject of the film, Kelsey Carroll, will be featured speakers at the events.
The University of Rochester’s Strong Center for Developmental Disabilities and Warner School of Education and The Advocacy Center will host a film screening for Who Cares About Kelsey? at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, April 16 at Strong National Museum of Play. Habib’s new film shows innovative educational approaches that help students with emotional and behavioral disabilities to succeed—while improving the overall school culture and climate. The Rochester premiere of Who Cares About Kelsey? will be followed by a discussion with Habib and Kelsey.

Kelsey, the film’s focus, not only suffers from ADHD but also from self-mutilation and past memories of homelessness, sexual abuse, and her mother’s substance abuse. The film follows Kelsey, whose goal it is to graduate from high school, throughout her ups and downs at Somersworth High School in Somersworth, N.H. and into her transition to postsecondary education and employment. During Kelsey’s sophomore year, new school leadership implemented Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) and a youth-directed planning process called RENEW to improve the school’s culture and reduce the dropout rate. This school-wide overhaul gave Kelsey a chance at a different outcome. The film captures Kelsey’s transformation from a defiant and disruptive problem student to a motivated and self-confident young woman.

The 75-minute documentary Who Cares About Kelsey?, released in 2012, has been broadcast on public television, screened at film festivals, national conferences, and school districts across the country, and has garnered national media attention. Who Cares About Kelsey? is Habib’s second feature-length film. His previous work includes the Emmy-nominated documentary Including Samuel, which also broadcast nationwide on public television stations in 2009.
In addition to the feature-length documentary of Who Cares About Kelsey?, Habib’s team created nine mini-films illustrating a wide range of educational issues and evidence-based practices, including Augmentative and Alternative Communication, Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports, Breaking the School-to-Prison Pipeline, Universal Design for Learning, Cultural Responsiveness, and more.
The film captures a pressing national issue: poor outcomes for students with emotional and behavioral disabilities. Less than 50 percent of students with emotional and behavioral disabilities graduate from high school, and these students are twice as likely as students with other types of disabilities to live in a halfway house, drug treatment center, or on the street after leaving school.
The film screening of Who Cares About Kelsey? will be held in conjunction with “We Care: Supporting Students with Emotional and Behavioral Challenges to Succeed,” a half-day conference on Wednesday, April 17. Both events, which will take place at Strong National Museum of Play, are free and open to the public. Seating is limited. Registration is required for both events. For additional information on the film screening or conference and to register for one or both events, call (585) 546-1700 ext. 272. The film contains mature content and language. Adult discretion is advised.

Habib and Kelsey will also be part of a private conversation and reception with students, faculty, and staff at the University of Rochester from 3:30 to 5 p.m. (prior to the film screening) on Tuesday, April 16 in the Genrich-Rusling Room of LeChase Hall on River Campus.

About the University of Rochester
The University of Rochester (www.rochester.edu) is one of the nation's leading private universities. Located in Rochester, N.Y., the University gives students exceptional opportunities for interdisciplinary study and close collaboration with faculty through its unique cluster-based curriculum. Its College of Arts, Sciences, and Engineering is complemented by the Eastman School of Music, Simon School of Business, Warner School of Education, Laboratory for Laser Energetics, Schools of Medicine and Nursing, and the Memorial Art Gallery. 

The Advocacy Center
The Advocacy Center (www.advocacycenter.com) provides information, advocacy, service coordination, leadership development, and educational opportunities for people with disabilities, their families, and the community. The organization’s mission is to empower individuals with disabilities and their families to advocate for themselves, realize their personal goals and build strong, inclusive communities. 

# # #

Media Contact: Theresa Danylak
585.275.0777; 585.278.6273 (cell)


Tags: behavioral disabilities, disabilities, emotional disabilities, film