When August To June came out in January 2011, few in the general population were aware of the shift in priorities that had taken place in schools. What a difference three years makes! Now every week FairTest publishes a list of articles appearing in publications across the nation related to resistance to the testing mentality, and the lockstep approaches it has spawned. Widespread skepticism surrounding the “new and improved” testing that is meant to accompany Common Core may cut it short before this generation of children suffer through what we call NCLB In Sheep’s Clothing. But during those same three years we have become more aware of the amount of money and politics involved. It’s necessary to keep on keeping on!
After an inspiring North Dakota Study Group Annual Meeting in Detroit, and wonderful visits to Ohio’s Wickliffe and Barrington Informal Programs and a return trip to Ann Arbor Open, Amy stopped traveling with August To June in April, to devote full time to finishing Good Morning Mission Hill. Tom edited and Amy plunged into all the other details involved in finishing the project, and getting it seen. We were very happy to learn that the National Educational Telecommunications Association (NETA), the same organization that distributed August To June, wanted to take Good Morning Mission Hill. Working with our son Jesse, and our public television station relations representative Kristin Fellows, we put in place the major elements of our jacket design just in time to send a modified version on review copies to 160 television programmers and a first group of educators who offered to review it.The film will be available to programmers starting August 23. We now have two websites, Good Morning Mission Hill and August To June that we hope you will explore, where you will find information on how to bring our work to your community. We’ll be posting the dates and times of broadcasts on the calendars of both websites as we are notified. So far we’ve heard from East Lansing MI (see the calendar), and Utah Public TV has told us they intend to promote the program widely–a nice start! There may be broadcasts we are unaware of, so also check your local listings, or contact the station you watch to get up to date information.
We will very much appreciate you letting folks in your circle know of broadcasts. Stations like hearing that organizations are being informed of their programming. If you are doing that, please tell your local station!
Mission Hill principal Ayla Gavins and 7/8 teacher Ann Rugiero brought an unfinished version of the new film to Chicago this spring. Principals and staff from many Chicago schools were in the audience, gathered there by Francis Parker School and DePaul University School of Education, in partnership with Chicago’s The Teachers’ Inquiry Project. We recently were sent a rich and thoughtful article based on the reactions of the participants, and are waiting to learn if it will appear in the Fall issue of Schools Journal.
Come September both August To June and Good Morning Mission Hill will be available for community screenings. Amy will be with Ayla Gavins, Ann Rugiero and Amina Michel Lord in November when Good Morning Mission Hill is shown at the Coalition of Essential Schools Fall Forum in San Francisco, and with Ayla and teacher Ashleigh L’Heureux in December when it is shown at the Association for Constructivist Teaching conference in North Carolina. We are aiming to have a DVD that includes both Good Morning Mission Hill (with Spanish subtitles) and A Year At Mission Hill, the series of 10 shorts that first appeared on the internet, available for purchase via the website early this fall. Contact us directly for the one hour version of August To June or for Spanish, French or German subtitled copies of the original 90 minute film.
It still seems to us that one of the best ways to create positive change in school cultures is to show positive examples, then invite conversation about how that might look in different settings. We hope our films can help engender those conversations!
Our Facebook page now represents both films. If you haven’t looked at it yet, it is where we keep track of what others are doing to create change, as well as posting information to support whole child education.
If you know of an opportunity for our new film to be reviewed, or want to organize a community screening, please contact us!