Professional Learning

A Note from George Lucas: Celebrating Unsung Heroes in Education

May 7, 2013
Credit: Happy Birthday Ms. Jones illustration © 1956 SEPS licensed by Curtis Licensing, Indianapolis, IN. All rights reserved.
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.

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