I've read a ton of reviews lately of The Mitchell 20 — a remarkable education documentary film driven by my good friend Kathy Wiebke that details the efforts of a group of 20 teachers in a high-poverty Phoenix elementary school to change the lives of their students by changing their own practice.
I guess I'm struggling to find the right words to explain how powerful the film is.
My faculty and I can't wait to see The Mitchell 20; for some reason we feel that we are living the same story right now.
Like Mitchell, we are NOT waiting for superman; we are digging in, collborating, and working very long hours to improve our students and ourselves.
In the end, that's the BEST summary for The Mitchell 20: It is the story of a group of teachers who collectively recognize that waiting for superman is a strategy that is failing our poorest students.
It is the story of a group of teachers who recognize that super powers really do rest somewhere deep within every teacher who takes up the challenge of working in our highest needs communities.
It is the story of what one group of colleagues can do when they decide to fight back by studying their practice collectively with one another—even when their backs are against the wall and they're working in forgotten communities.
I won't lie: The Mitchell 20 made me wet in the eyes more than once simply because it is the story of passion and service and professionalism and need and hope all wrapped into one.
And I needed that.
Surrounded by failed policies, destructive policymakers, and constant attacks, I've started to doubt that our public schools — and more importantly, children in our poorest communities — REALLY have a chance.
What The Mitchell 20 reminded me is that as long as there are teachers with a heart for children and a determination to study their craft together — and as long as we are politically willing to get out of their way — there is ALWAYS a chance for EVERY child in EVERY community.
That's a message we ALL need to hear.
When are YOU going to see the whole film?
More importantly, when are YOU going to forward the trailer to YOUR local school board members, state representives, or federal legislators?
This isn't a film that they can afford to miss if we really care about EVERY child.
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