Beyond Measure Sparks Conversations on Purpose of Education

On Jan. 11, as part of the St. Anne's-Belfield School Inspiration Speaks series, the documentary Beyond Measure was screened for a School and community audience of more than 100.

"I was so pleased with the turnout," said Associate Head of School for Academics Beth Miller."Gathering together and sharing ideas with community members who care deeply about our children's education is incredibly important work. We are always looking for ways to share our School values and story."

Beyond Measure challenges the assumptions of the current American education story, including the idea that success will be achieved by narrowing curricula, standardizing classrooms, and finding new ways to measure teachers and students. In looking at the greater purpose of education, the film asks audiences to consider instead an educational system based on valuing personal growth, inquiry, and passion with the goal of transforming students.

Following the screening, a panel discussion including Head of School David Lourie, Associate Head of School for Academics Beth Miller, Director of College Counseling Sandra Sohne-Johnston, and University of Virginia student psychologist Matt Zimmerman, touched on topics like teacher training to support student-directed learning, the role of homework in at-School learning, how parents and educators can assist colleges in abandoning traditional measures for college acceptances, and more.

"The event dovetailed nicely with our community's work around the new Strategic Plan," said Miller. "With our goals of encouraging risk-taking, embracing failure, prioritizing health and wellness, and more I found it incredibly reaffirming to be able to respond to audience questions with, 'yes, we are doing that!' Our faculty and students are eager to expand on and find new ways to create the most engaging learning experiences possible without confining ourselves to an outdated model of rigor."

The next Inspiration Speaks event will take place on Tuesday, Feb. 27 with "Dean Julie" Lythcott-Haims, former dean of freshmen at Stanford University. Lythcott-Haims will discuss ideas from her New York Times bestseller How to Raise an Adult: Break Free of the Overparenting Trap and Prepare Your Kid for Success. Complimentary tickets to the talk are now available to the School community and general public.

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