Well, that was cool!
Last night’s season three premiere of “Abbott Elementary” on ABC featured a Chalkbeat shout-out none of us was expecting.
Janine Teagues, played by the show’s creator Quinta Brunson, is telling someone from the district about choosing colors for her classroom: I wanted to go with blue, which inspires focus.
District employee Manny: And calm, which is so important for primary classes. I read about that in Chalkbeat.
Janine: You read Chalkbeat?
Manny: Mhm. Janine: I basically live in the comments section, so.
Our phones immediately lit up from readers across the country. The Chalkbeat staff was, to put it mildly, freaking out in the best way. And we loved seeing responses like this one:
If you’re coming to Chalkbeat for the first time because you saw us on Abbott, welcome! We’re a nonprofit news organization that reports on schools and education policy in eight locations across the country. We are powered by award-winning journalists who live in the communities we serve and care deeply about education, and by a community of teachers and parents who read our work and tell us what’s happening inside their homes and classrooms. Many teachers like Janine are also members — donors who make it possible for us to stay independent as local news struggles.
What was that story Janine mentioned? There’s no exact match, we did recently write about an Indiana school’s new sensory room with walls painted teal. (We’ve also written about the show and how other Philly teachers felt watching it.)
And about our comments section: We did have a thriving one in our early days, but switched to other ways of connecting with readers a few years back. Janine’s reference makes us think that, like so many teachers, she’s been a fan for a while. Did we mention this is our 10th anniversary year?
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We’re grateful that so many of the Janines of Philadelphia, and the rest of the country, are avid Chalkbeat readers. We’re willing to bet that not every Janine in your community is a Chalkbeat newsletter subscriber yet, though. We’d love it if you’d share this with them — they can sign up here — or take a moment to tell us your reaction to last night’s episode.