Pop Culture Classroom inspires a love of learning, increases literacy, celebrates diversity and builds community through the tools of popular culture and the power of self-expression.
Pop Culture Classroom (PCC) was inspired by the need for innovative literacy education in Colorado. The founders were a group of professional educators, artists, writers, parents, and self-described "nerds" from diverse backgrounds who knew from their own experiences how the science fiction, fantasy, and superhero stories they loved had inspired their own creativity.
They also knew that comics and graphic novels were a pathway to literacy because that's how many of them had learned to read. They set out to create comics-based lessons and workshops that could improve literacy outcomes and ignite the creative spark that lives within each of us. In 2010, they officially launched a new nonprofit based on these goals called Comic Book Classroom.
In 2014, the organization was renamed Pop Culture Classroom (PCC), reflecting a broader vision for building on the success of comics-based programs by incorporating other pop culture tools into its work. PCC's mission is to inspire a love of learning, increase literacy, celebrate diversity, and build community through the tools of popular culture and the power of self-expression.
In 2017, the organization moved into a new office featuring an on-site classroom and maker space at the intersection of Denver's Sun Valley and Valverde neighborhoods, two of the city's neighborhoods with the highest minority populations and the lowest income. In 2020, PCC became a member organization of Scientific and Cultural Facilities District Tier II.
Today, PCC provides educational programming to thousands of students per year through a combination of onsite and outreach programs across Colorado and at Denver Pop Culture Con. n 2021, PCC entered into a collaboration agreement to transfer the management of the event to FAN EXPO HQ. Under the name FAN EXPO Denver, FAN EXPO HQ will now host the event.
PCC serves as the event's its featured charity and continues to be heavily involved in running educational and family-friendly programming as key event components. This includes providing free tickets and a curated educational experience on 1 day of the event for 750-1,000 local educators and undeserved students from schools across Metro Denver and Colorado thanks to our Educator's Day and school groups ticket donation initiatives.
In addition to these opportunities, we are working closely with FAN EXPO HQ to ensure the Con will continue to maintain a focus on supporting Colorado's robust community of vendors, artists, creators, and businesses who rely on this event each year to put food on the table and pursue their passions -- and also allows PCC to focus on its core nonprofit mission while continuing to engage with its vast community of fans, families, youth, and educators through the Fan Expo Denver event.
"Pop Culture Classroom has created the perfect way to show [parents, students, teachers, and the public] that Comic Books and Graphic Novels are true literary art forms. And the innovative way they have come up with for teaching kids… this program can change everything!" - Middle School Youth Coordinator, Denver Public Schools
"I want to be a doctor, no matter what, I will never give up. Storytelling and my experiences with Pop Culture Classroom and ACC will help me tell others about my dream to be a doctor. I can apply for scholarships. I know I will need support to reach my dream, and the better I can tell my story, the more support I can find, I am sure of it. Pop Culture Classroom...helped me to better tell my story" - Shamsul, a refugee from Burma who participated in a comics workshop for high school students.
"Once again, Pop Culture Classroom has added tools to my educational toolbox." -Sherry Simmons, K-8 Speech-Language Pathologist, 2019 ED589 Participant
"This place is so cool! The kids and I had a blast at Family Game Night." - Lynn L. (Facebook, March 22, 2019)
"It's been a wonderful and different approach to teacher professional development. Very inspiring!" -6th Grade Language Arts and Social Sciences Teacher, 2019 ED589 Participant
"An awesome family experience every time!" - Alyx W. (Facebook October 28, 2018)
"In all, I thought that this year was a fantastic educational opportunity as was last year and I look eager to take these new tools, ideas and motivators into the classroom and see what impact I can make on the world."- Geography Teacher, 2019 ED589 Participant
"I'm so happy to have content available to my kids that they will actually read. We started with the Nathan Hale series of books and they were so excited to see the Colorful History series. Graphic novels/comics are so helpful to kids like mine that have dyslexia but are still interested in historical and educational content. It's just harder for them to get through more lengthy/traditional content. THANK YOU!!!!!!!" - Colorful History Fan