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New Documentary Offers Insights for the Future of High School Learning

XQ’s featured session included clips from “The First Class,” a new documentary about a high school in Memphis. The film includes powerful examples of project-based learning.

It was wonderful seeing so many of you at the AACTE 2024 Annual Meeting. In keeping with this year’s theme, “Ascending New Heights: Propelling the Profession into the Future,” there were inspiring conversations about how to support and empower educators at a time of tremendous change.

We heard how states are looking at their teacher pipelines post-pandemic — and the need to prepare educators for the continued challenges of absenteeism and learning loss. Speakers addressed the importance of representation and diversity in the profession and the desire to bolster educators to succeed with a whole-child instructional approach.

One session, “Disrupting Conventional Assumptions about High School Learning,” showed us an innovative approach to high school teaching and learning through excerpts from a powerful documentary film. The session featured panelists Carole Basile, dean of the Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College at Arizona State University, Michele Cahill and Jeanie Lee from XQ, Maria Hyler, director of the Learning Policy Institute’s Washington, DC office, plus Crosstown High teacher Nikki Wallace and recent graduate Ray Duch.