Quotes & Expert Praise

” In August to June, we have a visual record of a community of learners, a series of moments — discoveries and setbacks — through the school year that accumulate like sparkling beads on a string.  The result is as engrossing as it is illuminating.”
– Alfie Kohn, author of The Schools Our Children Deserve and other books

“It is a spectacular film. One all teachers and teachers in training would benefit from seeing.”
–Nancy Carlsson-Paige, Lesley University early childhood education professor emerita, author of Taking Back Childhood and other books, founder of Defending the Early Years 

“August to June” reminds us of the truth of W.B. Yeats’ observation, that “Education is Not the Filling of a Pail, but the Lighting of a Fire.”
John Merrow, PBS Newshour Education Reporter, Learning Matters

“At a time when a wave of standardization is turning our schools into test prep programs and impoverishing our visions of what schools can be, this film reminds us that powerful, engaging, child-centered, curriculum-rich, community-rooted schooling still lives. Never shouting or preaching, this film is both a detailed depiction of a year in the life of a vibrant learning community and a quiet call to arms to defend and expand authentic education for all children.”
– Monty Neill , Executive Director The National Center for Fair & Open Testing (FairTest) and chair of the Forum on Educational Accountability

“Amazing! The documentary brings tears to my eyes just THINKING about it!”  –Susan DuFresne, Co-Author, Teachers’ Letters to Bill Gates, Kindergarten Teacher Activist Washington State

“Viewing August to June: Bringing Life to School is an uplifting emotional and cognitive experience. It renews one’s faith in Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s (1712-1778) assertion that “every child is born good and it is the responsibility of adults to draw this goodness out.”
review in the International Journal of Multicultural Education Spring 2012, by Dr. John Caruso Jr., Western Connecticut State University School of Education

“The artwork, music, animals and plants, but most of all the children interacting make this a so alive classroom and year.  The various illustration of conflict mediation you were doing were textbook.  The family involvement was just so illustrative and informative, the way it should be.”–Dr. Daniel Gartrell, emeritus professor of early childhood education, Bemidji State University, author of The Power of Guidance, A Guidance Approach for the Encouraging Classroom and other books.

“…perhaps the greatest pleasure of watching the film is coming to know these young people through their dreams, their troubles, and their many acts of kindness and bravery. The only other documentary that does this as successfully in my opinion is To Be and to Have, a 2004 French film about a one-room schoolhouse in the countryside. Both films share a keen awareness that even small moments of classroom life can have a universal resonance that goes beyond their local contexts.
…”What I think most teachers, parents, and administrators are actually hungry for are powerful images of practice and stories about classroom life that illuminate complex ideas about teaching and learning, that spark vital conversations among stakeholders, and that move people to be excited about trying new ideas.
August to June succeeds in this respect because it makes a clear, seamless connection between the micromoments portrayed in the film and the macroideas that relate to those moments.”
review in THE NEW EDUCATOR, by Alexandra Miletta, Mercy College School of Education

“The lack of ego in the film is refreshing in the era of corp Ed reformers. The film truly puts children first.
–Anthony Cody, co-founder of Network for Public Ed
, Edweek blogger: Living in Dialogue

“What a light in the darkness in these times!!”
Diane Levin, Professor of Education, Wheelock College, co-author of So Sexy So Soon: The New Sexualized Childhood and How Parents Can Protect Their Kids, and other books

“August To June is an inspiring documentary film about one classroom across one year.  With its close attention to all the different ways a teacher works with children, both singly and in groups, the film portrays the full complexity of expert teaching.   It also shows how much a teacher can do to support the growth of children as emotional, social, and intellectual beings when parents and school agree to throw off the shackles of standardized testing.”
– Dr. Helen Featherstone , Associate Professor Emerita of Teacher Education Michigan State University, Adjunct Professor of Education, Brandeis University, co- author, Transforming Teacher Education: Reflections from the Field, and other books

“…an inspiring film and a compelling example -  an example needed to encourage people who still  want to create powerful classrooms despite the mandates  to the contrary.”  Gay Hoagland, Director of Leadership Programs, Stanford University

“The film demonstrates so much about what is truly important in designing a pathway of learning for children that I will continue to hold it up as a model of best practice for my pre-service grad school students and others.  It is, no doubt, a major work in this field.
“…your participation with us engaged some folks new to “the movement” and re-ignited the dedication of those who’ve been at it a while.”
–Jack Langerak, Coalition for Justice in Education, Rochester NY

“I can’t say enough about how it impacted me as an educator and a human being. I believe it captures the essence of what it means to humanize and personalize the educational process. It speaks directly to the Coalition of Essential Schools focus on habits of heart and mind and student-centered learning as well as the transformational process that creates the climate and conditions for authentic learning to take place in our schools.”
– Rick Posner , Author, Lives of Passion, School of Hope

“Any parent would want this for their kids. Very powerful, very well produced.”
–Larry Lewin, University of Oregon College of Education, co-author Innovative Instruction: A Menu of Teaching Tools for Effective Student Learning, and other books 

“We received the DVD and our education faculty are so delighted with the movie that they are requesting that we order an additional copy.”
– Teresa Schureman, Rowan University Library Service, Glasboro NJ

“The film is beautiful and gives future teachers a positive -heartfelt- reason for teaching……it gives them hope for their calling to a career that seems ‘hopeless’ right now.” –Professor Katherine Thomerson, Coordinator of Liberal Studies, California State University San Bernardino

“Especially if seeing Waiting for Superman made you mad in the way it blamed teachers and teachers’ unions, see this wonderful documentary about an exceptionally good teacher and an outrageously innovative school that actually serves the students’ needs well and teaches them academics and more.”
Sandy Handsher, Professor of screen writing and film history College of Marin; Associate Producer of the documentary Leave Them Laughing

“A powerful and insightful film that is both touching and provocative.”
– Mark Phillips , Professor Emeritus, San Francisco State University School of Education

“This is such a lovely tribute to what we know kids need.”
– Colin Greer, President, New World Foundation, co-author, Choosing Equality, The Case for Democratic Schooling and other books

“The film provides concrete evidence that this kind of education is not pie in the sky, or only for the very rich. It’s being done and needs to be done more. As a parent, my heart aches to think how many more children could have access to that kind of exciting, stimulating, nurturing environment but still don’t.”
– Lisa Guisbond, Outreach Coordinator Science of the Eye – Bringing Vision into the Classroom Massachusetts Institute of Technology

“We have been in a raging national debate on the state of public education: the achievement gap between rich and poor, the role of teacher unions and school boards, the place for charter schools and other alternatives. Yet “August to June” examines an elemental part of this…the teaching process itself, focusing on one year in the life of a classroom as master teacher Amy Valens teaches the “whole child” for the last time and reflects on her career in a beautiful nuanced way.”  –Kim Aubry, Founder Zoetrope Aubry Productions, former Vice President for Technology and Post Production at Francis Ford Coppola’s American Zoetrope

“Much like the “open classroom” it depicts, the documentary August to June is fast-paced, engaging and inspirational. It is truly thrilling to see how school can indeed be a place of adventure, discovery, growth, mystery, hilarity, community, collaboration, reflection and rejoicing. Where do I sign up?”
Dr. Peter Oppenheimer Ed.D., movie review columnist for the quarterly arts and cultural journal, “Stone Soup

“As a County Supervisor, I am treated to many rewarding presentations of art in all of its media forms. What moved me to single out this work for your consideration is its quiet, forceful illustration of children’s natural capacity to become informed, considerate participants in all aspects of life. That is achieved through the filmmaker‘s patient perspective, capturing seemingly routine class encounters as they blossom into individual discoveries and a social framework that will serve the students throughout their lives. The film welcomes all viewers, requiring no formal understanding of the educational theories at work while exquisitely illustrating the full spectrum of human emotion that accompanies the learning process. As the work progresses, it clearly avoids showcasing shining stars, opting instead to reinforce the potential that lies within each of us when encouraged and supported.”
– Steve Kinsey, Marin County Board of Supervisors