Local film and panel discussion brings to attention educational change


Himanshi Ahir

Participants of the panel discussion share their thoughts on the ideas brought up by the documentary.

Himanshi Ahir, Staff Writer

Having spoken about robotics and alternative models at Clark Magnet High School, senior Mika Stanghill proved to the estimated 200 audience members at a recent panel discussion and film showing that Clark is a project-based learning environment.

The Future of Education?, held April 21 at the Alex Theatre, consisted of the showing of the 2015 Sundance film Most Likely to Succeed and a panel discussion about the topics addressed in this film. The Glendale Education Foundation sponsored the program.

“The movie was outstanding,” said panel participant and Clark teacher John Over. “It addressed the very serious problem that our society is changing so rapidly. Students are left not knowing what skills to acquire.” He said that students graduating from even Ivy League universities are not finding jobs.

Most Likely to Succeed is a documentary written and directed by Greg Whitely about the revolutionary project-based school High Tech High in San Diego. “The idea becomes that technology is evaporating the middle class, which is what college is preparing the students for,” Over said. “With this in mind, High Tech High in San Diego consists of no bells, no grades, and all projects.”

Junior Arvin Sarkissian said that the film expressed the difference in curriculum and the instructors different approach to education with the example of High Tech High. He said that he believes this approach is essential for students to thrive and fully understand the material provided to them.

The film was followed by a panel discussion with participants: member of the Board of Trustees Moderator Tony Tartaglia, GCC Dean of Student Services Robert Hill, professional television animator and Emmy-award winner John Over, former GUSD School Board member and parent Sandy Russell and Robotics Team 696 president Mika Stanghill. “The discussion revealed GUSD’s realization of the public education systems ongoing transition from a focused standardized education to one of individualization,” Sarkissian said.

“I brought the perspective of the person who came from industry and went into education,” said Over. He spoke about preparing students for a career in the industry and that the teacher’s goal in leading a project-based activity is to actually get them through the project.

“This is the kind of change I’ve been hoping for a long time,” Sarkissian said. “I am glad that it is finally being recognized on the administrative level.” GUSD Supt. Winfred Roberson said that students could be a part of the change by asking their teachers to have more project-based educational opportunities.