140 8th Graders In Socioeconomically-Disadvantaged Community Produce Animated TV Series Using In-School Education Tool Created By Former CEO Of The Company That Incubated The Simpsons And Rugrats

Success Stories of At-Risk Students Using Story Maker® Ignites Advanced Collaboration and Storytelling Skills in 342 Schools Nationwide 

LOS ANGELES, May 1, 2024 /PRNewswire/ — In the high desert community 72 miles outside Los Angeles, with public schools ranked at the bottom 50% of those in California, 140 8th grade students produced a 6-episode animated TV series, titled Lancaster, California.”  The students collaborated with Wonder Media, founded by Terry Thoren, the former CEO of the company that incubated The Simpsons and produced the Rugrats.

The middle-schoolers worked for one school year to create their animated series with a nationally recognized education resource called Wonder Media Story Maker® which was developed to teach at-risk students authentic career production skills and reinforce soft skills like creativity, communication, collaboration, critical thinking and team building. Story Maker® has been implemented in 342 schools nationwide.

The press is invited to attend the Premiere screening of Lancaster, California and the awards ceremony on Monday, June 3, 2024, at 1:00 pm at the Fulton and Alsbury Academy of Arts and Engineering and streaming simultaneously on YouTube.

The title of the animation series isLancaster, California and was produced by middle schoolers at the Fulton and Alsbury Academy of Arts and Engineering in the Lancaster School District under the direction of two middle school teachers, Micki Quinn and Crystal Stephens, who have been teaching in the Lancaster School District for 20 years. Though the teachers took on this project above and beyond their daily classroom duties, the writing elements of the TV series were incorporated as part of the students’ English language arts curriculum.

Teacher Micki Quinn says; “My students’ investment in this project, both academically and socially/emotionally, caused a high degree of engagement in a writing process that required them to rely on each other because all 36 scenes in the 6 episodes mattered to every student. The writing helped them to visualize the story before it was animated which was the grandest effect of the entire process. The growth in those skills were transferred to their personal writing skills.”  

Teacher Crystal Stephens says: “Creatively the students went from wanting to know how to build a TV series with sustainable character arcs to knowing how to achieve the process and doing it with panache.”

Lancaster Superintendent Paul Marietti says; “This is our 6th year working with Wonder Media. We know that we can’t teach students if they don’t come to school. Story Maker® engages students so they don’t want to miss a single production session.”

“We are on a mission to discover and ignite the hidden skills and talents of all student groups with the use of animation. Educators are discovering that students who have a difficult time applying themselves to formal teaching methods blossom with Story Maker®, said Terry Thoren, CEO / Founder of Wonder Media. It’s used in charter schools and public schools in all grade levels during the school day, after school, in Saturday academies and in Summer School.”

To learn how to bring Story Maker® to your school please write

Wonder Media also produces animated stories for The Barbara Sinatra Children’s Center, The Cook Center for Human Connection, WonderGrove Social Skills, The Institute for Habits of Mind, the NALC Food Drive, The Boy Scouts of America, The Girl Scouts of America, the Wyland Water Foundation and The Hazelden/Betty Ford Children’s Center.

Media Contact:
Alyson Dutch

SOURCE Wonder Media