As the educational landscape rapidly changes and parents and students struggle to keep up, District 91 is inviting the community to gain a better understanding of the reasons why today’s classroom is starting to look nothing like the ones we remember.
On Thursday, Nov. 17 from 7 to 9 p.m., the district will host a community screening of a highly touted education film, Most Likely to Succeed, at the Forest Park Middle School Cafetorium, 925 Beloit Ave.
The 2015 film delves into the idea that while the current educational system — developed during the rise of the industrial age — was once considered one of the best in the world, today’s U.S. school systems have failed to transform to adequately prepare students for skills needed in the present and future.
Throughout the documentary, audiences follow a school in San Diego that has worked to reinvent the basic idea of what going to school should look like in the modern world. The film works to offer insight into the possibilities of creating successful modern schools when students, teachers, parents and communities join together and share a vision of the future that includes progressive transformation. The film also shares ideas from the book Most Likely to Succeed: Preparing Our Kids for the Innovation Era, written by Tony Wagner and Ted Dintersmith.
Audiences and reviewers at film festivals across the country have called the movie one of the most compelling films ever created on the topic of education. Since its release, more than 2,300 American school communities have held screenings similar to the one being hosted by Forest Park.
Most Likely to Succeed and the idea for a screening were introduced to the district by Amanda Walsh, D91’s director of innovative learning. Walsh first learned about the film last year from a colleague at Leyden High School District 212, who said the district’s screening generated a strong response.
“I just thought it would be something great for us, especially since we just went through some future-ready planning this summer, just trying to get with the times,” Walsh said.
While the elementary school district is hosting the film screening, she noted, anyone from the wider community is welcome to come as the film is meant to demonstrate to all adults how the educational landscape has truly changed from when they were in school.
“We find many times that parents who are my age and your age all went to school in a certain way, and school is really starting to look different,” Walsh explained. “We’re finding that parents just don’t understand it and sometimes it makes things difficult. It is going to hopefully open community members and families to what school can look like and to major shifts in the future.”
D91 Superintendent Louis Cavallo agrees with Walsh that the entire community needs to understand the changes occurring in education today.
“As we work to change how we educate children to be more aligned with 21st-century learning, we want the community to understand better what these skills are and why they are important,” Cavallo said. “School cannot be the same as it has always been and we need to significantly change how we teach.”
Walsh added that the film will be beneficial to D91, specifically, because of how it aligns with the district’s current working goal of rallying the district around what she calls the “Four C’s”: communication, collaboration, critical thinking and creativity.
“[The film] will give a better understanding of where we’re at and where we’re going,” she said. “We offer our students here in District 91 so much. We really are trying to get them prepared for their future.”
Cavallo hopes parents and interested community members will come to understand the importance of embracing technological advances in the classroom, problem-solving skills, and new approaches to teaching classic subjects.
“Education cannot operate in a vacuum; we need to partner with the community and work collaboratively with parents,” he said. “This film will help to set the stage on what education should look like for all of us.”The movie-screening tour is also being organized in partnership with The Future Project, a national nonprofit movement working to transform inner-city public schools nationwide and prepare all schools for a bigger vision of the future of America.
For more information, contact the district at 708-366-5700. More information on the film, including the film’s trailer, can be found at mltsfilm.org.