Craig Hockenberry has an extensive background in Ohio public education and was principal of the Oyler School at a time when the pre-K-12 Cincinnati institution achieved a successful turnaround. Craig Hockenberry was featured in the one-hour documentary “Oyler: One School, One Year,” which depicted, from his perspective and those of a high school senior, his innovative efforts at transforming a school that serves an urban Appalachian neighborhood.
As featured in a 2016 Washington Post article, the film has broad applicability to districts across much of the nation, as it delves into “economic, social, and emotional challenges” that confront students, teachers, and administrators as they strive to instill success among communities at the margins. The efforts at Oyler represented a leading-edge approach to confronting paradigm shifts in America’s public education, with an increasing number of children now raised in areas of concentrated poverty.
The approach highlighted in the documentary includes targeted, volunteer-driven mentoring and tutoring, which prepared teens to excel in the ACT college admissions examination. Mr. Hockenberry also set in place a yearly college day the involved students gaining insight into various institutions of higher learning and connecting with former graduates currently attending college. Just as important, school faculty and community members engaged in continuous dialog, as they found ways to resolve seemingly intractable issues in holistic ways that benefited the local neighborhood.