S2 Hosted a Screening of BEYOND MEASURE

S2 Hosted a Screening of BEYOND MEASURE
Posted on 05/01/2017
Beyond Measure Poster

On Thursday, April 20th, S2 was proud to host a screening of Beyond Measure, the new documentary by Director/Producer Vicki Abeles, maker of the acclaimed prequel Race to Nowhere. Ms. Abeles also penned the written material that preceded the movie, a well-reviewed book titled Beyond Measure: Rescuing an Overscheduled, Overtested, Underestimated Generation on “how to revolutionize learning, prioritize children’s health, and re-envision success for a lifetime.” All goals that our school shares.

The film addresses a central question: What if our education system valued personal growth over test scores? The filmmakers set out to challenge the assumptions of our current education story by highlighting the difficulties and solutions our educators face in all corners of the country, from Seattle to Kentucky and San Francisco to New York City. Instead of prioritizing memorization and standardized tests, we saw schools that put critical thinking, communication, exploration, experimentation, collaboration, and creativity at the forefront of our children’s educations. It was really inspiring seeing teachers newly excited to return to work every day, and students personally motivated to meet goals and work together.

While the film presents a promising vision of the future of education, it also addresses the difficulty of such a paradigm shift. Teachers used to teaching and students used to learning a certain way require time to adjust to a new set of expectations and challenges. Students who have spent their entire education sitting in desks and cramming for tests haven’t been exercising their creative and problem-solving muscles, they don’t know what to do with a truly open-ended assignment. Similarly, teachers who have grown accustomed to a lecture & test format of educating are wary of the effectiveness of any other method of teaching and unsure how to implement this approach. In Beyond Measure we see administrations, teachers and students grappling with these changes for the sake of progressing public education into the 21st century.

A brief panel discussion followed the screening, we were thrilled to have the participation of Doug Knecht (Executive Director of Bank Street Education Center), Joseph P. Macdonald (Professor of Teaching and Learning at NYU’s Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development) and Carrie Amon (Principal for 13 years at Mamaroneck Elementary School and Interim Principal at Tuckahoe Middle School before joining School in the Square!). The discussion was moderated by Sherry King (former VP of Programs for the Pearson Foundation, she is involved with a number of educational movements including the National Center for Education and the Economy, and the Coalition of Essential Schools). We are so grateful to them for engaging the audience in a thoughtful conversation about the issues addressed in the film. Mrs. Amon concluded with an inspiring point: that S2 aspires to be included among the schools highlighted in the film for implementing this new method of educating.  

The screening was attended by over 70 people, including current and incoming students and families, board members, staff and even a handful of local people who were simply excited for an opportunity to view the film.

A big thanks to our board member and academic committee advisor, Scott Levenson, for sponsoring this screening. Thank you!

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