StoryCorps comes alive in classrooms across the country through StoryCorpsU. StoryCorpsU uses StoryCorps’ tested interviewing techniques—combined with outstanding radio broadcasts and animated shorts—to support high school students in the development of identity and in drawing connections between their unique strengths and the college application process.
StoryCorpsU (SCU) is a year-long, cross-disciplinary (language arts, media, history), youth development program designed for 9th and 10th graders to help students develop:
- Self and social awareness—social and emotional learning competencies;
- Academic skills—speaking, listening, and analytical and critical thinking; and
- Strengthened school relationships.
Introduction to StoryCorpsU
About the Curriculum
Delivered in a classroom by teachers, SCU is comprised of 29 lessons divided into three units, “Where We’re From,” “Who We Are,” and “Where We’re Going.”
The SCU curriculum fits well as part of an English Language Arts class or an advisory program, used once per week over the course of the school year. The curriculum has also been used in English as a Second Language and History classes, as well in extended-day programs. Lessons are based upon 45-minute class periods.
In the Classroom
In each session, students listen to a StoryCorps audio clip or view a StoryCorps Animated Short selected to match the theme of the lesson and its relevance to the life experiences of students. Guided by their teachers, students then participate in discussions to analyze and reflect on the segments, making connections between the stories and their own lives. These lessons also prepare students on how to conduct interviews with peers, and then introduce exercises that lead students to record four personal stories over the course curriculum.
Training & Resources for Teachers
As an introduction to SCU, new teachers attend a two-day training workshop that provides them with a comprehensive understanding of the SCU curriculum. All teachers receive SCU teaching supplies, including a lesson plan book, student workbooks, and additional lesson-specific materials. Teachers will also be trained in use of online resources, such as VoiceThread, the web-based platform where students record their stories.
Partner teachers can reach out to a SCU liaison for support on an as-needed basis throughout the school year.
Sample the SCU curriculum by using these three free lessons:
Evaluation & Impact
In the 2015 evaluation of SCU, Dr. Ronald Ferguson, a leading national researcher on racial and economic achievement gaps in education, and his team at Harvard found:
- A majority of students said that as a result of their SCU experience, their beliefs, feelings, or behaviors had changed in ways that correlate with increased engagement in learning and an improved class climate, thinking more about the future, and a positive relationship with the teacher.
- A majority of students also reported that they were better able to express who they are, and that recording their stories was meaningful.
- 91% of teachers reported a greater understanding of and stronger relationships with their students.
- 72% of teachers reported a greater belief in students’ ability to succeed and that what they teach can make a difference in students’ lives.
- Nearly all SCU teachers said that they enjoyed teaching SCU and would recommend it to other teachers.
During the 2015/2016 school year, SCU is being carried out in partner schools across the country.
|George H. Corliss High School||Chicago, IL|
|Methuen High School||Methuen, MA|
|Boston Collegiate Charter School||Boston, MA|
|Denbigh High School||Newport News, VA|
|Heritage High School||Newport News, VA|
|High School for Youth and Community Development||New York City, NY|
|St. Mary’s Episcopal School||Memphis, TN|
|Alliance College-Ready Middle School #8||Los Angeles, CA|
|The Academic Leadership Community||Los Angeles, CA|
Support for StoryCorps U
The Corporation for Public Broadcasting
The NYC Department of Cultural Affairs