People oftentimes ask, What becomes of children after they graduate Opal School? I imagine it’s a question that comes up in all schools that prioritize community and connection, the social-emotional and the intellectual, creativity and expression, empathy and agency, conflict and beauty, democracy and citizenship. The rich neural architecture constructed in these environments isn’t always immediately apparent - and certainly isn’t captured in standardized tests. That our schools are vital places of joyful theory building in the present is indisputable, but people wonder: What lives bloom from these roots? How do people who grew in these spaces draw from the gem that they hold in their pockets?
Opal School's new film, Becoming Who I Am, illustrates how those learning environments lead people to become the neighbors, coworkers, and changemakers the world needs. We hope that it inspires you and that it is useful to you: we hope that you show it at your back-to-school nights to extend parents' imagination and alleviate their fears, in your teacher education classes to help the next generation of educators see the value of their innovation, to your friends and families so that they can finally understand why you do the work that you do.
Let us know what you think of this film - made by the extraordinarily gifted and generous Opal School parents Irene Tejaratchi Hess and Mark Palansky - and learn more at opalschool.org.