Spotlight Education

Expand/Collapse Spotlight Education


Spotlight Education aired on local PBS stations from September 12-17, 2016. It featured eleven films and documentaries, including special episodes of NOVA, FRONTLINE and PBS NEWSHOUR, a new documentary from POV, and the premiere of TED TALKS, “The Education Revolution.” It concluded with the 5th annual AMERICAN GRADUATE DAY, a broadcast about individuals and non-profit organizations dedicated to helping youth stay on track to high school graduation.

This collection features resources about intervention and success strategies, 21st Century learners, and examines how the dedication to teaching all children, especially at-risk students, makes a real difference in communities. Spotlight Education celebrates the work of teachers and educators and underscores the importance of convening a dialogue around education.

Looking for even more inspiring ideas in education? Check out the PBS Teacher's Blog!

  • School of the Future | Educator Guide

    This guide provides an overview of topics featured in NOVA: School of the Future, a film that examines the challenges many K–12 students face, and features the work of scientists and educators reimagining a more equitable future for education in the United States. The guide outlines how research from cognitive neuroscientists, psychologists, and educators informs strategies and interventions that are helping to improve classroom pedagogy and school environments today. These approaches include frequent, low-stakes testing; mindfulness training; developing “grit” to boost academic performance; and engaging students through project-based learning. This resource is part of the NOVA: School of the Future Collection.

    Download the Educator Guide in English or Spanish.

    Grades: 13+
  • School of the Future | Fostering Self-Regulation in Young Children

    Learn about the connection between household income and the development of essential learning skills, and a research study program whose goal is to improve learning outcomes of underprivileged preschoolers, in this media gallery from NOVA: School of the Future. Growing up in poverty exposes young children to stresses that can hinder their ability to focus. Crystal Rulli is a single mother whose youngest child attends a federally funded Head Start program. Crystal and her child are part of a University of Oregon program that provides parents and preschools with techniques to reduce stress and heighten focus in daily interactions. This resource is part of the NOVA: School of the Future Collection.

    Grades: 13+
  • School of the Future | How Reading Interventions Impact the Brain

    Learn about research into environmental factors that influence the development of two parts of the brain involved with language and reading, in this video from NOVA: School of the Future. Using MRI, an advanced imaging technique, neuroscientist Joanna Christodoulou is investigating the link between a child’s socioeconomic background and development in both Broca’s area, a brain region associated with language production, and Wernicke’s area, which is associated with language comprehension. Through her research, Christodoulou wants to learn if early reading interventions can change the physical structure of these crucial brain regions. This resource is part of the NOVA: School of the Future Collection.

    Grades: 13+
  • School of the Future | How Teaching Grit Improves Student Outcomes

    Examine a trait called grit, which may be a stronger predictor of success inside and outside the classroom than IQ, in this video from NOVA: School of the Future. Angela Duckworth, the university psychologist and former school teacher who defined the term “grit,” tested groups of success-driven women and men to find out what makes some people not give up when the going gets tough. Duckworth is using her insights to help schools like Beverly Hills Middle School teach grit in the classroom, with the goal of helping students improve their academic performance. This resource is part of the NOVA: School of the Future Collection.

    Grades: 13+
  • School of the Future | Project-Based Learning

    Learn about two schools whose project-based curriculum is helping to not only engage students with real-world problems they connect with, but also address gaps, or inequalities, in education, in this media gallery from NOVA: School of the Future. The Workshop School serves kids from some of Philadelphia’s toughest neighborhoods who, in their prior school experiences, struggled academically because of stresses in their environment. Dos Pueblos Engineering Academy in California was started by a high school physics teacher who was intent on addressing the gender imbalance in science and engineering. This resource is part of the NOVA: School of the Future Collection.

    Grades: 13+
  • School of the Future | Stress and the Classroom Environment

    Examine the impact that chronic stress can have on the areas of the brain that control how we learn and process emotions, and discover some techniques teachers can use to create a safe and nurturing classroom environment, in this video from NOVA: School of the Future. Neuroplasticity, the brain’s ability to respond to changes in the environment, can help or hinder the balance and structure of the limbic system, which shapes a person’s emotional life and learning brain. To offset events in a child’s life that can trigger stress and derail classroom learning, teachers can turn to tools to create a positive classroom environment. This resource is part of the NOVA: School of the Future Collection.

    Grades: 13+
  • School of the Future | The Achievement Gap

    Examine the relationship between the achievement gap (the disparity in academic performance between groups of students) and the opportunity gap (the disparity in family income), in this video from NOVA: School of the Future. In comparing the resources and opportunities available to students of two high schools in neighboring California communities, the video highlights the inequality apparent in America’s public education system. In fact, the country’s comparatively high rate of poverty may explain why U.S. students consistently score lower than many of their global peers in the PISA test, an international assessment of 15-year-olds' skills and knowledge. This resource is part of the NOVA: School of the Future Collection.

    Grades: 13+
  • School of the Future | The Importance of Immersion

    Follow an Iraqi refugee and learn how his experience in an inclusive charter school has helped his English language skills, in this video from NOVA: School of the Future. In 2013, high schooler Murtada Mahmood arrived in Massachusetts from Iraq speaking only broken English. Because he was placed in a class for English learners (ELs) and separated from the school’s student body, his language skills suffered. After switching to KIPP Academy in Lynn, where ELs are included in regular classes, Mahmood’s self-image improved. As his English skills developed, he raised his expectations for what he could accomplish. This resource is part of the NOVA: School of the Future Collection.

    Grades: 13+
  • School of the Future | The Learning Benefits of Active Retreival

    Learn how providing students with the opportunity for retrieval practice could increase retention of information, in this video from NOVA: School of the Future. Patrice Bain, a middle school teacher in Columbia, Illinois, is trying a new approach to improve her students’ recall. Through low-stakes mini-quizzes administered just after students learn new material, Bain prompts her students to retrieve information from memory. Two cognitive psychologists who back this approach believe that frequent retrieval practice is an effective strategy for creating robust memories and leads to better performance on graded tests given days to weeks later. This resource is part of the NOVA: School of the Future Collection.

    Grades: 13+
  • School of the Future | What Should the School of the Future Look Like?

    Scientists, educators, and innovators offer their insights into what the “school of the future” ought to look like, do, and enable, in this video from NOVA: School of the Future. These experts, which include psychologists, a neuroscientist, classroom teachers, and education entrepreneurs, envision school as a place that will help students reach their potential. They believe that the school of the future will be a community that engages students and encourages them to be major contributors in society; will provide an environment in which children feel safe to fail, learn, and collaborate; will be both innovative and iterative; and will allow students to learn at their own pace. This resource is part of the NOVA: School of the Future Collection.

    Grades: 13+
  • School of the Future | Can Meditation Prevent Teen Suicide?

    Learn about a California high school known for its academic rigor and strong student performance that turned to meditation after several students committed suicide, in this video from NOVA: School of the Future. Henry M. Gunn High School senior Cole McFaul, who in the video recounts the unexpected loss of a close friend to suicide, joined teachers, administrators, and fellow students to introduce mindfulness training to the school’s regular physical education program. By reducing stress and raising awareness of mental health, the training is designed to improve student well-being and change the unhealthy school culture. This resource is part of the NOVA: School of the Future Collection.

    Grades: 13+
  • School of the Future | Community Screening Guide

    NOVA’s School of the Future is a two-hour film that explores the science of learning and how children learn best, including techniques to strengthen engagement and inspire growing minds. This screening guide provides an overview of the content of the film and a detailed walkthrough for organizing a screening of the film in a school community. This resource also includes guiding questions for a panel event or discussion about the topics explored in the film as well as links to research to support implementation of evidence-based strategies into classroom instruction, home-based learning, and school policies. This resource is part of the NOVA: School of the Future Collection.

    Download the Community Screening Guide in English or Spanish.

    Grades: 13+
  • Intervening to Prevent a Dropout

    Research focusing on identifying the risk factors associated with students who drop out of high school is featured in this professional development video excerpt from FRONTLINE: "Middle School Moment." Professor Robert Balfanz’s research has shown that middle school is the key moment when, absent effective intervention, students can fall into the patterns that lead them to drop out during high school. In a middle school in New York, Principal Delores Peterson saw value in this research and put it into practice. The video features the story of student Omarina Cabrera, whose chaotic home life caused her to frequently arrive late at school. This triggered a response by her school’s intervention team, who helped provide the targeted support she needed to stay engaged and become successful at school. This resource is part of FRONTLINE collection.

    Grades: 13+
  • Succeeding in School

    The story of Omarina Cabrera, a young student who was helped by her school’s dropout intervention program, is featured in this video segment adapted from FRONTLINE: "Middle School Moment." When Omarina and her mother got evicted from their home, Omarina felt ashamed and began to frequently arrive late at school, causing her schoolwork to suffer. Luckily, her pattern of tardiness was flagged by her school’s team of counselors and teachers, who collect and review attendance statistics every week. Once the team knew about Omarina’s problems at home, they were able to develop the practical support she needed to complete middle school and prepare for a successful high school experience. This resource is part of the FRONTLINE collection.

    Grades: 6-12
  • All the Difference | Lesson Plan Clips

    In this lesson, students will use the real life experiences of two young men featured in the documentary All the Difference to reflect on their plans post-high school and begin thinking about their futures, from college to careers. They will explore tools and strategies to guide this preliminary planning for life beyond high school.

    Filmed over five and half years, All the Difference traces the paths of two promising young men, Krishaun Branch and Robert Henderson, as they navigate their lives in low-income, high-risk communities in Chicago. Statistics predict they will drop out of high school; both graduate and go on to college in spite of all the odds. The film explores the factors in their lives (mentors, teachers, parents and grandparents, role models and community support) that made all the difference. All the Difference is part of American Graduate: Let’s Make It Happen, a national public media initiative made possible by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting to help local communities keep more students on the path to graduation.

     

    Grades: 9-13+
  • All the Difference | Lesson Plan: Envisioning the Future, Starting Now

    In this lesson, students will use the real life experiences of two young men featured in the documentary All the Difference to reflect on their plans post-high school and begin thinking about their futures, from college to careers. They will explore tools and strategies to guide this preliminary planning for life beyond high school.

    Filmed over five and half years, All the Difference traces the paths of two promising young men, Krishaun Branch and Robert Henderson, as they navigate their lives in low-income, high-risk communities in Chicago. Statistics predict they will drop out of high school; both graduate and go on to college in spite of all the odds. The film explores the factors in their lives (mentors, teachers, parents and grandparents, role models and community support) that made all the difference. All the Difference is part of American Graduate: Let’s Make It Happen, a national public media initiative made possible by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting to help local communities keep more students on the path to graduation.

     

    Grades: 9-13+
  • Sharing Our Stories in School | Craft in America

    SHARING OUR STORIES IN SCHOOL explores the work of Therman Statom in the "Teachers" episode of Craft in America. "Teachers" highlights artists' committed to sharing skills and passion for craft with a new generation. Therman Statom​, sculptor, glass artist, and painter is known as a pioneer of the contemporary glass movement. His life­size glass ladders, chairs, tables, constructed box­like paintings, and small scale houses bewitch with vibrant colors and spontaneous line work. National Arts Education Week, as designated by Congress in 2010, is September 11-17, 2016.

    Grades: 6-12
  • Digital Media: New Learners of the 21st Century

    Digital Media: New Learners of the 21st Century explores how exceptional instructors are increasingly using digital media and interactive practices to ignite their students’ curiosity and ingenuity, help them become civically engaged, allow them to collaborate with peers worldwide, and empower them to direct their own learning.

    Grades: 13+
  • 21st Century Learners

    In this Classroom Close-up video, the NJ County Teachers of the Year (NJCTY) hold a 21st Century Learners forum at Mainland Regional High School in Linwood. Educators explore how public education can best meet the needs of the modern workforce and discuss technology infusion in the classroom. One of the main purposes of this forum is to provide a platform for NJ teachers to collaborate and share their ideas with each other. NJCTY hopes to empower and engage teachers to make quality, impactful decisions by providing opportunities such as this forum.

    Grades: 13+
  • 21st Century Learning

    Hear about different models of 21st century learning skills from experts in the education field. Chris Rush from New Classrooms, Teresa Napoli from School of One and Rebecca Rufo-Tepper from the Institute of Play discuss the emergence of new approaches to learning, such as personalized and game-based learning. 

    Grades: All

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