Good Morning Mission Hill/A Year at Mission Hill Video Series

“Good Morning Mission Hill” is a documentary film by Tom and Amy Valens showing what teaching and learning are like at the teacher-run Mission Hill K-8 School in Boston, MA.

The documentary “Good Morning Mission Hill” and its corresponding internet series, “A Year at Mission Hill,” became internet sensations for showing a school designed by teachers to promote democratic habits and nuture a community of students and families.

According to the “Good Morning Mission Hill” website:

Tom and Amy Valens chose Mission Hill School for many reasons. It was located in Boston’s Roxbury district, a so-called “zone of special interest” where racial tensions have erupted in the past. Mission Hill is a neighborhood public school that parents in the district can choose–but because of its Pilot School status, has more autonomy that most Boston public schools. Founded by noted educator Deborah Meier and in operation for 15 years, Mission Hill is neither a school started in the heyday of alternative education, nor a brand new school.

It became clear to Tom and Amy Valens that a big part of the dynamic at Mission Hill existed because its teachers feel such ownership of their school and their teaching. Teachers truly design and run the school. The result is a school community in which children and their families can best maintain and nurture democratic habits. As the Mission Hill K-8 website states: “Democracy requires citizens with the capacity to step into the shoes of others, even those we most dislike, to sift and weigh alternatives, to listen respectfully to other viewpoints with the possibility in mind that we each have something to learn from others. It requires us to be prepared to defend intelligently that which we believe to be true, and that which we believe best meets our individual needs and those of our family, community and broader public—to not be easily conned. It requires also the skills and competencies to be well informed and persuasive–to read well, to write and speak effectively and persuasively, and to handle numbers and calculations with competence and confidence.”

Tom and Amy Valens say of this film: “The country continues to struggle over a perceived ‘achievement gap,’ social and economic inequalities, and the need for the next generation to be creative problem solvers. This film will add to viewers’ understanding of how public schools can meet these challenges.”

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