If you could redesign high school, what would it look like?

Would the students be thinking about their career while still in school? Should they progress by seat-time or by mastering skills? How would you use real world examples to connect to classroom projects?

These are the types of questions that Ted Dintersmith is asking students, parents, teachers and administrators while on his 50 State Tour with his documentary Most Likely to Succeed. Ted outlined his vision of the future of school in a recent blog post.

So far, Ted has visited 31 states with a mission to visit all 50 by spring. Fully committed to accelerating the reach and impact of the film, Ted started the new year with meetings in Maine, first with Commissioner Beardsley to discuss graduation rates and America’s obsession with “college at any cost”, while also meeting with families and children in homeless shelters and visiting CTE programs for high school students.

Ted also recently spent time talking about the future of school in New Hampshire with Governor Maggie Hassan and with students at Seacoast School of Technology. While in Connecticut, Ted visited an I.D. Lab at Choate Rosemary Hall, in addition to meeting Superintendent Beth Schiviano-Narvaez to discuss lottery themed magnet schools.  

Getting Smart joined Ted on his recent stop in Seattle, WA and attended a screening of his film hosted by the Thornton Creek Parent Group and the Ideas Ignited Foundation, where the film was well received. 

On day two of the tour stop in Seattle, visits were made at several Seattle schools including Nova High School, an Alternative Learning Experience school and West Seattle High School.

Knowing that Ted enters most conversations, asking the question what can we do to engage and inspire our students and teachers, Garth Reeves, Assistant Principal at West Seattle High School greeted us with students who are participating in their Got 9 and Back on Track programs. The programs are designed to support students with different levels of engagement. This grouping of students has curriculum designed to pull out a greater understanding of the student as an individual through several elements of the program including:

  • Relationships – with their teachers and cohorts.
  • New models of teaching and learning – more inquiry based and applying your thinking.
  • Exhibitions – presenting your work to a meaningful audience.
  • Personal/individual – goal setting and building your own personal plan.
  • Out of the building – supporting, encouraging and making time for student’s career interest.
  • “non-cognitive” skills – developing goal setting, leadership, self-evaluations.

To learn more about the 50 State Tour and Community Screenings you can check out the Most Likely to Succeed website and to follow Ted’s adventures on the road, check out his blog.

With a real interest in listening to and learning from voices all over our country, Ted will continue with town halls, independent screenings of the film, listening to students, parents and teachers, meeting with underserved populations and discussing necessary changes with political leaders.

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