Episodes: Seven (hour)
TV show dates: October 15, — November 26, 2010
Series status: Cancelled
Performers include: Jacob Soboroff, Kym Whitley, Susie Castillo, and Tom Stroup.
TV show description:
This alternative series credits Cheryl Hines of Curb Your Enthusiasm and Denise Cramsey of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition and True Beauty as executive producers. It focuses on the stories of communities that come together to renovate their old schools. In the process, the community also finds its lost sense of value and pride in the school.
Students, teachers, and parents are the stars as the cameras follow them pitching in to rebuild their own school. Months later, the cameras revisit the school to discover the lasting effects of the transformation — a renewed sense of school pride and an increase in student achievement scores. Four personalities from the world of entertainment are there to help out as well – SWAT Commander Tom Stroup, interior designer Susie Castillo from House of Payne, former teacher and comedian Kym Whitley of ‘Til Death, and Jacob Soboroff of AMC News.
The schools and their communities that are be rebuilt during the series include Enterprise Middle School in Compton, California; Lanier Elementary School in Baton Rouge, Louisiana; Kingston Springs Elementary in Nashville, Tennessee; Communication and Media Arts School in Detroit, Michigan; Needles High School in Needles, California; Hollenbeck Middle School in Los Angeles, California; and Los Angeles Center for Enrichment Studies in Los Angeles, California.
Episode seven — Bring Back the Arts
Annie and Zack beg the School Pride team to help the Los Angeles Center for Enriched Studies (L.A.C.E.S.), a performing arts school in dire need of repairs.
This classroom is full of trash and unusable computers. The windows are dingy and on the floor, cockroaches scurry around. The auditorium seats are falling apart and many of the ceiling tiles are dirty or missing.
Decades ago, jazz bands played on a lush, inviting quad. Now the outdoor area is a plot of dirt with patches of grass struggling to stay alive.
Annie says that without the singing program at L.A.C.E.S., she’d probably be on the streets. This school is more than just an education for some of these kids – it’s a way out of despair.
The School Pride team promises to turn L.A.C.E.S. around in only seven days. This will no longer be a performing arts school without a decent auditorium!
Zack plays the piano for Susie in Mr. Monarch’s dilapidated music room. Mr. Monarch says that in 22 years, he’s never seen a single maintenance man work on his classroom!
Whitley visits the culinary arts room where Mr. Griffin’s student serves the latest creation: a tasty butter cake! The delicious treat inspires Whitley to make sure L.A.C.E.S. has a top-of-the-line culinary facility. Mr. Griffin says that’ll get him one step closer to achieving his ultimate dream of finding the next Julia Child!
Annie wakes up before sunrise every morning and has a two-hour bus commute. To Annie, all of the effort is worth it because she feels like she fits in at L.A.C.E.S.
Jacob interrupts a School Pride meeting with terrible news: the renovations have been rejected by the Los Angeles Unified School District (L.A.U.S.D.)! The School Pride team is forced to stop the clock. Is it over for L.A.C.E.S.?
Tom tells the volunteers that they will all have to make phone calls and pressure the superintendent to allow the renovation. After a day of sending out e-mails and reaching out to fellow community members and politicians, Jacob finally gets word that the renovation has been approved! Restart that clock!
Still angry over the superintendent’s hesitation, Jacob asks Dr. Kim, the principal, for more information. Dr. Kim suggests that perhaps it was just a misunderstanding.
Even though the auditorium is a bare, depressing mess, Tom and Annie know that with a little work, it’ll shine! Tom asks Annie to put on a performance for the School Pride team as soon as the renovation’s complete. Annie happily agrees.
Jacob demands to know why Superintendent Cortines rejected School Pride’s offer to help. He blames the delay on some skepticism within the L.A.U.S.D., but is happy to report that now School Pride can fix L.A.C.E.S. as well as about 800 other schools in the district!
Annie spends 20 hours a week on a bus commuting to and from school. Tom decides to go with her on one of her bus trips to see what it’s like for her. During the bus ride, Tom learns about Annie’s difficult relationship with her father.
When Tom tells Annie’s dad Gabriel that she credits him for her musical talent, Gabriel tears up. Tom convinces Gabriel to watch his daughter perform on the newly renovated stage. It will be the first time Gabriel’s ever seen Annie perform!
Zack, Annie and their friends endure a stressful rehearsal session. It’s hard enough to learn the music without having to worry about painting the walls and planting new gardens!
At the last minute, a major glitch derails Tom’s efforts: the auditorium chairs don’t match up with the screws in the floor! Tom immediately gets to work in order to meet the deadline.
With the auditorium fiasco behind him, Tom invites the students to check out the brand new L.A.C.E.S.! The exterior looks entirely different: colorful, bright and spotless!
Before the students can rush inside the school, Annie and Zack have some ribbon-cutting duties to attend to! The excitement is palpable.
Susie throws up her arms in glee as she sees Mr. Monarch take in his fabulous, remodeled music room, replete with new furniture, instruments, and a recording studio!
Next, Whitley unveils the Microsoft Culinary Arts Room, a wonderful place where students can learn how cook and find delicious recipes online.
The renovated quad has beautiful landscaping and a pond full of fish. All that’s missing is an impromptu jazz performance by some of the music students!
The auditorium lobby has a soothing coat of light blue paint and a pair of stunning decorative lamps.
And now what everyone’s been waiting for: the renovated auditorium! New chairs, a fantastic sound system, and an utterly transformed stage make this the highlight of the School Pride renovation.
To celebrate the new L.A.C.E.S. look, the students put on a performance. Annie sings a beautiful rendition of “Imagine” with Zack on piano. In the audience, Annie’s father looks on proudly.
The emotional ballad turns into a fast-paced dance routine. The performance is so stellar it manages to distract the audience from the breathtaking auditorium – at least for a moment.
First aired: November 26, 2010.