Kim Freitas – MLTS Reflections

This blog post is a reflection by Girls Innovate! volunteer, Kim Freitas, on the Most Likely to Succeed movie screenings that Girls Innovate! hosted in August 2015 throughout the San Francisco Bay Area.

Redwood City Library was especially receptive to the screening of MLTS by co-sponsoring the event with Girls Innovate! A broad cross section of parents and students attended, including several home-school families who strongly advocated the benefits of project-based learning and hands-on experiences like the film’s Greek drama and the woodworking installation.

I was impressed by the role of parents at High Tech High, which is almost none at all. The parents struggle the most with the paradigm shift and worry about their child’s chances of getting into college. Their reluctance is transformed into trust as they see the rapid evolution of their children’s oral communication, collaboration, creative problem-solving, and constructive critical analysis.

The value of the film will be in helping schools, parents and students to modernize educational models where standardized testing, ‘teacher accountability’ and various school reporting systems, college admissions, private tutoring and traditional textbooks are big business and resistant to change.

In Redwood City, we have two charter high schools that seem to be performing well, but there is little cross fertilization between traditional public schools. Like High Tech High, these are small scale programs with self-selected students.

Attracting the best and brightest to teaching, extensive ongoing professional development and long-term outcomes data collection are likely to be the best ways to achieve change in a system that must work at enormous scale and with all students. As a parent, I realized that keeping things the same is probably a bigger risk to California’s future citizens than making changes.