Crossing the Finish Line: ‘Most Likely to Succeed’ Concludes a 50 State Tour

Higher Ed & Post Sec, Learning, Online & Blended, PreK-12

Executive Producer Ted Dintersmith is close to crossing the finish line with his 50 state Most Likely to Succeed (MLTS) film tour. It has been a long journey since he first decided to take MLTS across the country in the hopes of engaging parents, teachers, students, policy makers and business leaders in rethinking the 21st century classroom experience.

Ted has been on a mission to observe firsthand how different learning experiences are happening across the country –both what is working and what is not. In a recent interview with the Santa Fe Reporter, he said:

“We all think the way we went to school is the way [today’s students] should go to school, and the reality is, in every important respect, the world is different. The very skills our students need are getting crushed out of them, and the things they’re being rewarded for are the things machines can do better.”

mostlikelytosucceedfilm

The latter part of his tour began this month and highlights included:

  • Dunbar, West Virginia: Dunbar Intermediate School’s motto is “Determination is Success.” Students were interacting with one another by sharing information through apps on their smartboards, iPads and computers. Their understanding and ability to adapt to technology in the classroom was very apparent.
  • Charleston, West Virginia: Ted visited with State Superintendent of Schools Mike Martirano. In his short two years in office, his progressive views on the use of technology in the classroom versus textbooks is likely what  landed him 19th nationally for Chief School Officers.
  • Lexington, Kentucky: Carmen Coleman, Linda France, and Lu Young of the University of Kentucky’s Next Generation Leadership Academy hosted Ted for an afternoon.
  • Nashville, Tennessee: The first meeting was with Kevin Huffman, the state’s Commissioner of Education from 2011 to 2015. Huffman, a TFA alum and staff member, also worked with KIPP and Yes Prep. The next stop was Thistle Farms, a marketplace supporting women who have survived prostitution, trafficking and addiction. The last visit was to Valor Collegiate Academy, which currently only serves 5th and 6th graders. Ted was excited to see that they focus equally on social and emotional learning as they do on hard skills.

After concluding the most recent tour stops, Ted spoke to the Tennessean about what he saw was working:

“One of the big takeaways from the film is because these kids are incredibly energized by school and teachers are highly motivated, the tests take care of themselves.”

In what some are considering a “No State Left Behind campaign,” Ted will be venturing to Alaska and Hawaii to complete this tour. With this travel concluded, I am sure this is not the last we’ll hear from Ted, but merely the beginning of a new phase in his work to improve education!

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Katie Vander Ark

Katie Vander Ark

Katie is a education and innovation enthusiast. Follow her on Twitter at @kvanderark.

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