ABBOTT ELEMENTARY Inspiration Honored for 27 Years Teaching

Photo from Joyce Abbott’s Instagram

ABBOTT ELEMENTARY Inspiration Honored for 27 Years Teaching

By Movieguide® Contributor 

School teacher Joyce Abbott, who inspired ABC’s ABBOTT ELEMENTARY, left her mark on her Philadelphia school district after Sept. 26 was declared “Joyce Abbott Day.” 

The teacher recently retired after 27 years working with young people.

“When I went into this work, I did this work not for the recognition but to truly make a difference in the life of a child,” she told ABC News.

Abbott was invited back to her alma mater, Overbrook High School, where she was honored for her commitment to her students. 

At the event, she received a “Pennsylvania Senate citation from Pennsylvania state Sen. Vincent Hughes, and Philadelphia Councilmember Curtis Jones Jr. announced that 59th Street, near Lancaster Avenue, outside Overbrook High School, would be renamed Joyce Abbott Way,” Good Morning America reported.

“It means just so much. Who would’ve ever thought? It’s something that I never imagined—a street named after me,” Abbott said. 

Mallory Fix-Lopez, the Vice President of Philadelphia’s Board of Education, noted Abbott’s impact on TV and real life.

“While the show is fictional, the impact you have had on Philadelphia is very real,” Fix-Lopez stated.

Tony Watlington, School District of Philadelphia Superintendent, added, “I think you just represent the very best of public education in this country—outstanding.”

On Instagram, Abbott wrote, “Still can’t believe this is happening. All of your support of me has gone a long way! I appreciate it all sincerely and to be honored in this way with such a beautiful event is just beyond incredible.” 

“Just know that every day that you’re going in, even though every day may not be great, you are making a difference,” she reminded her fellow teachers. 

Her work in the district inspired the Emmy-winning “workplace comedy” ABBOTT ELEMENTARY, created by Abbott’s former student Quinta Brunson. 

“In this workplace comedy, a group of dedicated, passionate teachers—and an oblivious principal—are brought together in a Philadelphia public school where, despite the odds stacked against them, they are determined to help their students succeed in life,” a synopsis of the show reads. 

“Though these incredible public servants may be outnumbered and underfunded, they love what they do—even if they don’t love the school district’s less-than-stellar attitude toward educating children,” it concludes. 

The series stars “Brunson as Janine Teagues, Tyler James Williams as Gregory Eddie, Janelle James as Ava Coleman, Chris Perfetti as Jacob Hill, Lisa Ann Walter as Melissa Schemmenti and Sheryl Lee Ralph as Barbara Howard.” 

Brunson is the writer and executive producer of the show, along with Justin Halpern and Patrick Schumacker of Delicious Non-Sequitur Productions. 

Movieguide® previously reported on ABBOTT ELEMENTARY star Sheryl Lee Ralph: 

ABBOTT ELEMENTARY actress Sheryl Lee Ralph shared that she thanks God for the good and bad days while reflecting on her tips for a long life…

Ralph plays a Christian kindergarten teacher in ABBOT ELEMENTARY. A Christian in real life, too, Ralph came on TBN’s PRAISE and talked about how Christians should treat others.

“If you get confused when you’re reading your Bible, stop and go back and read the red parts,” she said. “The red parts for those who might not know are the things that Jesus himself…was said to have really said.”

She continued, “And you cannot find anything in those words that say ‘hate these people because they have been hated on before, ignore those people because they have always been ignored.’ It says nothing like that.”

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