The need for innovative literacy education in Colorado inspired Pop Culture Classroom and its education programs. As teachers, artists, writers, parents, and all around pop culture activists, each of us has personal experience with the transformational power of comics and other pop culture media. We believe that literacy, creativity and creative thinking are essential abilities for our children as they prepare to navigate both the successes and challenges of life.
Pop Culture Classroom was founded in 2010 as Comic Book Classroom, a Colorado charitable organization focused on enhancing and improving student’s learning experience through the use of comic book media. At the same time, the founders of Comic Book Classroom also created the Denver Comic Con event. The Original Founders of Comic Book Classroom and Denver Comic Con are Charlie LaGreca, Frank Romero, David Vinson and Kevin Vinson.
Between 2010 and 2012, the Original Founders were joined by accomplished educators Illya Kowalchuk and Christina Angel, and experienced event organizers Michael Newman and Bruce Macintosh, who became an integral part of organizational development as the foundations of both Comic Book Classroom and Denver Comic Con educational programs were developed simultaneously.
The Classroom program debuted the first version of Storytelling Through Comics (STC), a literacy and arts curriculum using comic books, free of charge at local area schools in Fall 2011. Shortly after, with the help of dozens of dedicated volunteers and generous donations, the Denver Comic Con event became a reality on Father’s Day weekend, June 15, 2012. It was an unexpected and overwhelming success.
Since then, the STC curriculum has been offered by schools, educators, libraries, and community organizations all across Colorado and beyond. The curriculum has expanded to include a comprehensive collection of reading materials, instructional videos, interactive activities and arts-based handouts designed to help students investigate storytelling, build art and literacy skills, and eventually create their very own comics. Completed entries are then published in a class collection.
In addition, the 2013, 2014, and 2015 Denver Comic Cons have continued to build on the inaugural event’s success, with over 100,000 attendees at the 2015 event. All proceeds from Denver Comic Con fund the staffing, supplies and infrastructure of the Classroom program, helping benefit Pop Culture Classroom’s overall educational endeavors.
In 2014, the Comic Book Classroom Board of Directors voted to change the name to Pop Culture Classroom (PCC). The name change reflects the board’s broader vision for the organization. Along with expanding the reach of our programming and curriculum, Pop Culture Classroom seeks to use other elements of pop culture to advance our mission of literacy education and to spark the creative spirit within every child.