Educating Peter
Directed byGerardine Wurzburg
Produced byThomas C. Goodwin
Gerardine Wurzburg
Sheila Nevins
StarringJudy Gwazdauskas
Peter Gwazdauskas
CinematographyGary Griffin
Edited byGrady Watts
Ilana Bittner
Music byRichard Einhorn
Distributed byHBO (TV)
Direct Cinema Limited (educational)
Release date
  • 1992 (1992)
Running time
30 minutes
CountryUnited States

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



Peter Gwazdauskas, a third-grade boy with Down Syndrome is beginning traditional school with regularly developing students for the first time. Originally, he was in a school only with other students with autism and special needs. Peter was enrolled in a traditional school because federal law states that students with special needs 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". Movies & TV Dept. The New York Times. Baseline & All Movie Guide. 2011. Archived from the original on May 20, 2011. Retrieved May 30, 2008.