Teaching the Dollars and Sense of American Made

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Gwinnett County Public Schools is injecting a new, interactive element into its high school economics curriculum 2014-15. The district is planting the first seeds of an “American Made” movement that may soon play out in classrooms across the U.S.

The idea”s genesis
Local business owner and philanthropist Clyde Strickland had a dream one night, of historical proportions. His inspired vision is the catalyst that is step-by-step helping to revitalize the concept of “American Made.”

Strickland joined forces with local filmmakers and 1999 Dacula High School graduates, Nathaniel McGill and Vincent Vittorio, to produce the documentary, American Made Movie. The film examines the decline of America”s manufacturing sector and the role consumerism plays in an economic rebound – “to promote simple solutions that every person can do to create a better future for their communities and for America.”

“This film tells the truth of how America works,” says McGill, producer, Life Is My Movie Entertainment.

Classroom impact
Championed by Gwinnett County Public Schools (GCPS) CEO/Superintendent J. Alvin Wilbanks, starting in fall 2014, the district will pilot curriculum specific to American Made Movie to augment high school economics coursework.

“American Made Movie brings to life an important component of the economics curriculum – the crucial role of manufacturing to the American economy,” explains Dr. Debbie Daniell, GCPS K-12 social studies director. “Every scenario illustrates a real-life situation that students can relate to and understand, making an abstract concept practical.”

The curriculum aligns with Georgia and Gwinnett County teaching standards and includes a viewing guide for teachers with a synopsis of scenes, prevalent vocabulary, and learning activities designed to stimulate rich classroom discussions.

GCPS to lead the way
“Kids are growing up in a global society,” says Daniell. “We believe in partnerships that work to match what we”re teaching in the classroom and provide materials that make our curriculum stronger and more explicit, to expose our students to both college and career tracks.”   

Strickland hopes to positively influence young people through the film and related curriculum. “We can plant this seed at the student level,” he says. “If we can change the minds of young people, we can change America.” Strickland says there are teams on the ground promoting the curriculum to other school districts in Georgia, as well as in response to interest from school systems in California, Florida, New York and North Carolina.

McGill shares, “We would like to see this curriculum in every school in Georgia. It”s up to each school system to get behind what we are doing with this film and bring it on as a tool that inspires kids.”

However, it will forever be GCPS”s leadership that forged the first link between the American Made Movie concepts and practical application for students, opening the door for others to join the movement.

Visit to learn more about this 100-percent Gwinnett-made documentary.