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March 8, 2017
Special Screening & Keynote at PBL World: Most Likely to Succeed

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by John Larmer
Editor in Chief

Our PBL World event in June is centered around BIE’s professional development workshops, but the keynote speakers, networking opportunities, and location in the Napa Valley are additional reasons why the event is so popular. Attendees will find some extra bonuses too, like they did last year with the screening of the film Beyond Measure.

This year, we’ve just confirmed that we’ll be screening the acclaimed documentary Most Likely to Succeed on Wednesday, June 21, 2017 at 3:30pm. And, bonus on top of bonus, we’re delighted to announce that the film’s producer Ted Dintersmith will be PBL World’s keynote speaker at 8:30am that morning.

Ted is quite a guy. In the 1980s, he ran a business at Analog Devices that “helped enable the digital revolution” and in the 1990s was named a “top performing venture capitalist.” More recently, he’s been described as “one of America’s leaders in innovation, entrepreneurship, and education.” He recently co-authored a book with Tony Wagner, Most Likely to Succeed: Preparing Our Kids for the Innovation Era. You can read more about him here.

The Campaign
The Most Likely to Succeed website has lots of information, clips from the film, and other tools—for parents, teachers, school leaders, students, and change agents— to provoke conversations and support education change efforts in schools and communities.

The goal of Ted Dintersmith’s campaign is to help schools “re-imagine their purpose, and create learning experiences that prepare kids for life in the 21st Century.” They’re making the film available to schools for screenings that bring teachers, parents, and students together and engage in discussion about the future of their school and kids. Dintersmith has been traveling to all 50 states, bringing together government officials, educators, business people, philanthropists, parents, and students. This campaign is being led by The Future Project, a non-profit dedicated to “transforming inner-city public schools across the country and with a big vision for America’s future. (We) seek to create a nationwide movement to empower our schools to help every child in America.”

The Film
Here’s a quote from the film’s press release:

“The acclaimed film Most Likely to Succeed offers an inspiring look at what students and teachers are capable of—if we have the vision and courage to transform our schools. Directed by acclaimed documentarian Greg Whiteley, the film has been an official selection of two dozen of the world’s top film festivals, including Sundance, Tribeca, and AFI DOCS. It’s been featured at leading conferences on education, including ASU/GSV, SxSWedu, Harvard/GoldmanSachs, and NewSchools Venture Fund. Audience members call it the most compelling film ever done on the topic of school.”

I reviewed the film when BIE hosted a screening of it back in April, 2016. Here’s a teaser from that blog post:

“The film interweaves commentary from various experts about our changing economy and mostly-unchanging schools with the story of High Tech High. It follows two ninth graders as they work on a project about why civilizations rise and fall. One girl is directing a play about the Taliban written and performed by her and her female classmates and based on Euripides' Trojan Women (the boys performed the original play). In another classroom that included math and science, the ninth graders are expressing their understanding of the driving question by building an elaborate work of art involving interconnecting gears, made mostly of wood. The central drama: will they be ready for Exhibition Day in the spring, when fellow students, parents, and the community show up to hear about and see their work?”

Sounds good, eh? See you there!


Register soon for PBL World 2017. A limited number of seats are available for the film screening.


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