A Real Mission Statement: Final Report on Year at Mission Hill

The Institute for Democratic Education in America (IDEA)  has issued a summary report of the amazing project A Year at Mission Hill

Year at Mission Hill is a ten-part video series that follows life inside the preK-8 school founded in 1997 by Deborah Meier that is part of the Coalistion of Essential Schools. As I said in comments that are quoted in the report, the series: 

“Gave people, both educators and especially non-educators, a look inside the life of a school that
showed the possibilities and realities of quality education. I shared the series widely, and most
people I discussed it with were astounded, as in “Wow, we could never have something like that
here, could we?”

The series presents an unpolished look at the problems and possibilities of democratically run schools designed to prepare children for life as free citizens of the world.  IDEA called the series, “the conversation we need to be having” about education reform.

Skip the re-run holiday movies, gather your family and friends to watch this series, especially the tear-jerker conclusion, as the courageous principal vows to resist attempts to impose mandatory standardized testing on kindergartners, even if it means her job. Then, ask yourself: What would it mean, and what would it take for more of our schools to be like Mission Hill?

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  • Cathleen Lin

    A Real Mission Statement

    Thanks for sharing the powerful testimony of Mission Hill School! It was very inspirational, and it definitely renewed my desire to one day help the economically disadvantaged children in Taiwan to learn English. Thank you!

  • Amie

    What would it take?

    Your question, “What would it take for more of our schools to be like Mission Hill?” is a challenge to answer because it means we need to look at what we are willing to do. I’m only a preservice teacher, earing her credentials at the moment, so I know I’m a little naive, a little wide-eyed and bushy-tailed, but if we want our schools to be more like Mission Hill, it’s going to take educators, principals, and everyone else who supports student learning to go into schools and change the way curriculum is taught, make learning democratic, engage student voice and choice, and instead of just talking about whether it can be done or not…take charge of our classrooms and schools and do what we know to be best for student learning. Isn’t that what is so inspiring about Mission Hill?

    • ReneeMoore

      Learning from Mission Hill

      You are exactly right. It will take many individual educators and real community involvement at various levels being brave enough to put models like this into motion. I believe it can be done in more places, particularly in rural school communities where there is often a stronger bond between school and community already.

      I’m surprised that more of the public charter schools have not adopted this model (or am I wrong about that??), since they are by definition free from many of the constraints facing other public schools. Anybody know of other “Mission Hill” type schools?