Let the Little Light Shine

A high-achieving elementary school just south of downtown Chicago is a lifeline for Black children—until gentrification threatens its closure.

teacher and students protest National Teachers Academy
Premiere Date
December 12, 2022
Funding Initiative
Diversity Development Fund
Open Call
filmmaker Kevin Shaw

Kevin Shaw

Kevin Shaw was a segment director and cinematographer on "America to Me," a STARZ mini-series from Oscar-nominated filmmaker Steve James. Shaw’s debut film, “The Street Stops Here,” aired nationally on PBS and ESPN in 2010 to rave reviews. Shaw is a graduate of Kartemquin Films Diverse Voices in Documentary program and a Firelight Media Documentary Lab Show more Fellow. Show less

filmmaker Rachel Dickson

Rachel Dickson

Rachel Dickson produced "63 Boycott," which won the Jury Award for Best Short Documentary at the Nashville Film Festival and the Audience Award at the Pan-African Film Festival. Dickson was the supervising producer of "The School Project," a web series produced by Kartemquin Films and was a field producer for "Hard Earned," which won the Alfred I. Show more DuPont-Columbia University Award. Show less

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The Film

National Teachers Academy (NTA) is a top-ranked, high-achieving elementary school just south of downtown Chicago, with a thriving population of mostly low-income and Black students. But, as the neighborhood grows and gentrifies, a parents’ group eager for a high school in the community seeks to close NTA and replace it with a high school campus. As the Chicago Public Schools administrators, Mayor Rahm Emanuel, and the city's politicians debate the future of the school, the film brings you inside NTA to meet the students, parents, and educators fighting to save their beloved institution.