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A Year at Mission Hill: Reimagining Public Education

What are the stories we tell ourselves about public education -- and what are the stories we ought to be telling?

Sam Chaltain

on 1 September 2016

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Transcript of A Year at Mission Hill: Reimagining Public Education

One day. Fifty films. Fifty people in a racially and economically diverse community in Southern California revealing their unique involvement in what makes a public school district function.
A Day in the Life of a Typical American School District
“'Getting good' is how kids refer to the journey toward mastery. But when it comes to school, the light often goes out of their eyes. How can teachers spark the fire of motivation in academic settings as well, so that our students will really want to learn?”
Fires in the Mind: What Does it Take to Get Really Good At Something?
In this podcast, Montgomery County Public Schools superintendent Dr. Josh Starr and Chris Lloyd, teacher and vice-president of the Montgomery County Education Association, discuss everything from student evaluation to the growth of unschooling with education activist Sam Chaltain.
What’s the Big Idea? A conversation Between Josh Starr & Sam Chaltain
Everyone has a powerful learning story -- a moment when we discovered something essential about ourselves and the larger world. What's your story, and what can it tell us about the ideal environments we should be creating for our children -- and each other?
Share Your Most Powerful Learning Story
Our ability to see schools clearly is shaped by two things:
Our own experiences as students...
This is a problem, and an opportunity
& the stories
we tell each other
about teaching & learning
The stories of 2012 were about three things:
What will the stories of 2013 be & who gets to decide?
When you think about public education in America, what do you see?
Because our stories shape what we see
What if we started to see public education through a more
What if educators were more active in telling their own stories?
For many high school students, the struggles of others are often distant problems. But at Banana Kelly High School in the South Bronx, high school teacher Lauren Fardig aims to change that. Learning Matters reporter John Tulenko went to Banana Kelly — situated in the poorest Congressional district in America — to learn more.
Empathy 101
Who is responsible for the design of the school? How does that design support the development of the whole child? How does the school design reflect democratic processes and aims? Veteran principal Michelle Hughes has a few ideas. . .
Beginning the Year
In this deeply personal story, veteran educator Emily Gasoi reflects on a powerful lesson she learned in preschool -- and how it changed her for life.
A Quiet Victory for the Pack
This survey from the Institute for Democratic Education in America (IDEA) can be taken anonymously by students, teachers, staff, parents, and school administrators. It provides information to better understand what is happening in your school.
Snapshot School Assessment
Ashoka's Laura White outlines the work of a school in California that has figured out how to foster empathy, teamwork, leadership and problem-solving skills in its students.
Design a Positive School Culture
In this RSA Animate video, bestselling author Dan Pink illustrates the hidden truths behind what really motivates us.
The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us
In this article from Edutopia, you'll find out how to create meaningful, engaging and challenging project-based learning experiences for students.
How to Plan a Project
In this unforgettable audio essay, Dwayne Betts shares a surprising source for his most powerful learning experience: the confined space of a prison cell.
Expanding Boundaries in Prison
In this piece for the PBS News Hour, Learning Matters' John Merrow reports on a small but growing number of schools who are teaching what’s called Social and Emotional learning, and experiencing encouraging results.
The Rise of Social and Emotional Learning
Educator Sam Chaltain believes there’s a formula we can use to explain how people master empathy, even if no one’s ever described it that way before. And best of all, it’s got a familiar ring to it: E = EC².
The Empathy Formula
In this highly personal audio essay, Loretta Goodwin remembers the teachers who helped her see beyond the barricades of her upbringing in Apartheid-era South Africa, and imagine bigger things for herself.
Loretta Goodwin, Daring to Dream
In this excerpt from the book Solving Thorny Behavior Problems, author Caltha Crowe and the folks at Responsive Classroom outline a number of actionable steps educators can take to positively channel student behavior and energy.
Try this Format for Problem Solving Confrences
In this moving video from Edutopia, we learn the story of a middle school at which educators have reported big improvements since integrating the arts across all subject areas.
Integrate the Arts, Deepen the Learning
In this article for Start Empathy, author John Converse Townsend tells us about a Chicago organization that is connecting lives and cultures through literacy and the arts.
How Empathy and Arts are Changing Worlds
In this audio essay, choreographer Liz Lerman reflects on an unexpected discovery about the connections between art and real life.
Liz Lerman: Discovering the Intersection of Art & Real Life
Paideia is a holistic approach to life-long learning with roots in ancient Greece. The National Paideia Center provides training and support for teachers of all grade levels and subject areas. Learn more at paideia.org.
Learn How to Conduct a Socratic Seminar
In this video, educators and students from across the Institute for Democratic Education in America (IDEA)'s grassroots network discuss public education as it is -- and as it ought to be.
Flipping the Script: Changing Our Educational Paradigms
In this helpful brochure from the Collaborative for Academic, Social & Emotional Learning (CASEL), parents and caregivers are given practical suggestions about how to raise emotionally healthy young people.
Raising Caring, Confident, Capable Children
In this personal audio essay, educator Emily Gasoi reflects on a lesson she first learned in Kindergarten -- and has been heeding ever since.
Emily Gasoi: A Quiet Victory for the Pack
In partnership with Ashoka's Start Empathy Campaign, the creators of the PBS children's program Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood explain the logic behind a character in the show, Teacher Harriet, and urge us all to thank the teachers in our own lives who have made a difference.
Go Hug a Teacher
In this video from Edutopia, we learn about Brooklyn's PS 24, where fourth and fifth graders resolve playground conflicts and train younger students to be peacemakers in their classrooms.
Peace Helpers Become Classroom Problem-Solvers
In this review of the documentary film Buck, Sam Chaltain celebrates a story about how people (and animals) learn – and reminds us that just because something has always been done a certain way doesn’t mean there isn’t a better way to do it.
The Kid Whisperers
In this StoryCorps conversations, two teachers from Colorado's Eagle Rock School talk about what they've learned about teaching, and each other, and about what it takes to build a healthy school.
Karen & Amir Talk About Teaching
Courtesy of the Start Empathy Campaign, Instictive Parenting author Ada Calhoun offers three tips parents can employ to help their children play well with others.
How to Help a Child Start Being Kind?
In this video from What Kids Can Do, 11th grade student Amanda describes the power of an internship at a local museum, and why she liked it so much.
Just Listen: Hands-on Learning
In this post for Ashoka's Start Empathy Initiative, principal Michelle Hughes reflects on the philosophical foundations of public education.
The World of Work
In this interview for NPR's On Being, educator Mike Rose describes the facilities his mother used as a waitress — remembering orders, balancing dishes, chatting with customers — and how she learned those skills.
The Mind at Work
You can participate in a short online survey intended to inform neuroscience researchers about what aspects of research on the brain and learning will be most useful to those who work with students in classrooms.
Help Guide Research in Neuroscience
In this video from Edutopia, we learn about the School of the Future in New York City, and its unusual approach to teaching and assessing its students.
What is an Authentic Assessment?
In this July 2012 report, the folks at Open University explore new forms of teaching, learning and assessment to help teachers and policymakers reimagine education for a changing world.
Innovating Pedagogy
In this podcast from the Whole Child Initiative, a team of experts discusses the meaning and purpose of assessment, and how assessments are used to monitor student progress, provide timely feedback, and help teachers adjust their approaches to maximize student learning and growth.
Assessment 101
In this protocol from the School Reform Initiative, teachers are shown how to inquire deeply into the richness of student work, and make sense of what it reveals about a student's understanding, motivation and needs.
Examine Student Work Collaboratively
In this 24-minute video profile of a public charter school in Washington, DC, we learn about how schools like Mundo Verde are working to create meaningful, challenging and engaging learning opportunities for their students -- even students as young as five.
La Expedición
In this essay, educator Sam Chaltain identifies the chief obstacles that are hindering our collective efforts to transform teaching and learning -- and suggests a path forward that can unite our many voices into one.
How Many Scared Crows Does it Take to Sustain a Movement
In this series of audio essays, listen in as different pairs of teachers discuss core issues like social justice, assessment, and what it feels like to help a young person discover his personal passion.
StoryCorps National Teacher Initiative
To help bring about a world that values empathy as a foundational skill of human development, Ashoka has begun to assemble a national community of leading elementary schools that are willing to serve as models for reimagining education for a changing world. Know of a school that fits the description? Nominate them here!
Nominate a Changemaker School
Full transcript