Educating Peter

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Educating Peter
Directed by Gerardine Wurzburg
Produced by Thomas C. Goodwin
Gerardine Wurzburg
Starring Judy Gwazdauskas
Peter Gwazdauskas
Cinematography Gary Griffin
Edited by Grady Watts and Ilana Bittner
Distributed by Direct Cinema Limited
Release date
  • 1992 (1992)
Running time
30 minutes
Country United States
Language English

Educating Peter is a 1992 American short documentary film directed by Gerardine Wurzburg about Peter Gwazdauskas, a special needs student with Down's syndrome, and his inclusion in a standard third grade classroom in Blacksburg, Virginia. It won an Academy Award at the 65th Academy Awards in 1993 for Documentary Short Subject.[1][2]


  • Judy Gwazdauskas as Herself (Peter's Mother)
  • Frank Gwazdauskas as Himself (Peter's Father)
  • Peter Gwazdauskas as Himself
  • Mrs. Stallings (Peter's Teacher) and her class.


Peter Gwazdauskas, a special needs boy with Down Syndrome, is going to a traditional school with regularly developing students. Originally, he was in a special needs school with autistic/special needs students. Peter was enrolled in a traditional school because federal law states that special needs students should be educated with regularly developing students in traditional schools. Peter's first half of the school year was not going well because he was exhibiting behaviors such as making loud noises, rolling around on the floor, and being injurious towards other students in class. But when it was the middle of the year in January, things started to improve much better for Peter and he did just fine towards the end of the school year. Because of his improvements throughout the year, Peter received an award for being an exceptional student on the last day of school along with his other classmates.


Graduating Peter was released in 2001. The sequel follows Peter in middle school, high school, and his high school graduation.


  1. ^ "The 65th Academy Awards (1993) Nominees and Winners". Retrieved October 22, 2011. 
  2. ^ "New York Times: Educating Peter". NY Times. Retrieved May 30, 2008. 

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