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A Note from George Lucas: Celebrating Unsung Heroes in Education

George Lucas

Filmmaker and Founder, George Lucas Educational Foundation
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George Lucas, founder and chairman of The George Lucas Educational Foundation, owns the preliminary pencil sketch of Norman Rockwell's "Happy Birthday Miss Jones".

Today, on Teacher Appreciation Day, I want to send a word of thanks to a group of devoted individuals who, apart from my parents, have done the most to shape my life -- my teachers. From kindergarten to college, certain teachers engaged my curiosity and motivated me to learn. While I was not the best student, their efforts left a lasting impact.

For more than twenty years, my educational foundation has joined forces with teachers, parents, students, administrators, and business and community leaders to illuminate the most innovative learning strategies to be found in K-12 classrooms across the country. Along the way, we've met thousands of unsung heroes: people from different backgrounds, working long hours with diverse student populations, aiming to make learning the most engaging, relevant process it can be. These educators know that today's students need to leave school possessing important skills for success -- how to find information, critically assess its accuracy, be adaptive, collaborate with others, and creatively solve problems.

Through Edutopia, we identify these great educators and the learning strategies that are working in schools. We disseminate our findings on the Internet for easy access, anytime, anywhere. In the coming months, The George Lucas Educational Foundation will conduct more rigorous research on learning strategies that we have identified through Edutopia. We want to give you tools that will help you implement proven strategies such as Project-Based Learning (PBL) and Social and Emotional Learning (SEL).

So whether you're in a school that has implemented a full project-based curriculum, or you're just starting out integrating new technologies, what matters most is that you keep pushing for greatness and that you don't give up -- even when it seems like you're being underappreciated and overly stressed and frustrated beyond all belief. You have the most important job of anyone today. Now more than ever, our kids need you to advocate for their futures. All of us need this.

We know that many of you who are reading this have done amazing things. Please take a moment to tell us what works at your school or district. By doing so, you help to highlight the best of what's happening in education today.

George Lucas

Filmmaker and Founder, George Lucas Educational Foundation

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David Potter's picture
David Potter
Chief Development Officer

Thank you, George and Milton and the GLEF team for your long-time support for globally connecting classrooms. Eleven years ago, you wrote about the power of virtual exchanges and "classrooms without borders,"They were understanding perhaps the most important lesson we can teach our students: We are one world."

Edutopia continues to highlight US schools that are increasing going global or, like John Stanford Intl, are redefining teaching and learning through their global curriculum. Every student deserves the opportunity to have an international experience as part of his or her education.

We are getting closer to the day when access to online exchange and project-based learning is available to all students in the United States, regardless of socio-economic background, age or geographic location.

Thanks for supporting this effort.

Lessia Bonn's picture
Lessia Bonn
co-founder I am Bullyproof Music

First off, thank you so much for Edutopia! I find myself pinning and tweeting articles from this wonderful site almost every day! There's such a great wealth of new thought and inspiration here. It's impossible not to be inspired to share it all.

Also, good luck on the SF Museum. We close our eyes and envision envision envision. It will be incredible.

Years ago, I was lucky enough to serve as ringleader to a giant batch of songbirds in Santa Barbara known as "Lessia's Crew". Kids called Crew their church because it was so heavenly! Our rule was "Egos at the door" and it stuck. As young people shared challenges with me daily, I'd scribble helpful insights into songs that were fun for them to sing. Oh, the hugs of gratitude I received for doing that!
"Your songs stick in my head like glue and change up my attitude!" I was tickled pink as, all of a sudden, I began hearing back that so many young lives were changed up as attitudes began changing up. "Poor me" turned into "Oh, that's just that." "Lessia--I quote your songs to all my friends. You're saving them too!"

That's how IABPM was born. We now have a classroom program-- tunes with SEL lesson plans for 1-8. Everything simply evolved organically. We're off to a great start--educators are loving us. Hopefully, we'll grow and grow.

I really enjoyed your interview (pinned it!) in which you suggested we clue kids in on how the media really effects us. Yes, fast music excites us, certain colors urge us to buy. That's what IBPM is all about--handing kids a better chance in the world by arming them with insight. Our material is not full of empty blah blah plattitudes, it's deep and full of meaning. At least that's what kids tell us!

Thank you for all you do, Mr. Lucas! You really rock the world.

Sincerely, Lessia Bonn
PS. Huge sci fi geek here. Thanks for the movie magic too.

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