Primary accounts of intergenerational expectations are shared. In this module, narratives enlighten viewers to the underpinnings and implications of high and low expectations in children’s success.

Tips for using this module in your classroom

Essential Question

In what ways were African American students treated differently by members of their own communities versus the rest of society?


Documentary Clip

Discussion questions:
  • Why do you think Ms. Vick (who was a family friend) was concerned with Dr. Patricia Welch’s grades?
  • What does the term “mediocrity” mean? Why do you think Ms. Treopia Green Washington meant when she said, “mediocrity was not an option”?
  • Why was the community so supportive of young students’ accomplishments in the neighborhood? How do you think that sort of positive motivation helped students?
  • What do you think Ms. Evelyn J. Chatmon meant when she said, “you have to be twice as good”? Have you ever felt like you had to work twice as hard to be noticed in something?

Supplemental Enrichment Activites

Reflection Question 1
  • Have you ever gone somewhere and had to represent your family or your community or your school?
  • What are the potential problems with one person representing an entire group?
  • What type of pressure does that put on a person?
Reflection Question 2
  • In your opinion, what are ways that high expectations are (or are not) helpful?
  • In what ways do you have high expectations for yourself?
  • What person has high expectations for you?
Reflection Question 3
  • Ms. Treopia Washington Green shared, “it didn’t hold you back that it really propelled you further… because it helped you become determined to show that I can not only do this but I can do more than this.” What do you think Ms. Treopia Washington Green is referring to when she describes “it”?
  • Have you ever experienced a similar time as Ms. Treopia Washington Green? Reflect on an experience that you faced an obstacle that propelled you not hindered you.


  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.9-10.1 : Initiate and participate effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grades 9-10 topics, texts, and issues, building on others' ideas and expressing their own clearly and persuasively. (Grades 9/10)
  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.9-10.1.C : Propel conversations by posing and responding to questions that relate the current discussion to broader themes or larger ideas; actively incorporate others into the discussion; and clarify, verify, or challenge ideas and conclusions. (Grades 9/10)
  • D2.His.1.9-12 : Evaluate how historical events and developments were shaped by the unique circumstances of the time and place, as well as by broader historical contexts.
  • D2.His.4.9-12 : Analyze complex and interacting factors that influenced the perspective of people during different historical eras.