Meeting for a Movie

Jamestown Education Association brings education documentary to members

By Kelly Hagen, NDU Director of Communications

You’ve probably been to a meeting before, right? You know they’re not always a lot of fun. Everybody sits around a conference table, or in rows of chairs pointed toward the speaker. Reports are given, presentations and possibly PowerPoints. You’re talked at; you’re talked with. Maybe Roberts Rules of Order make an appearance. Maybe you have fun, but probably not.

You know what is fun? Movies.

JEA President DCody Mickelson greets members at Bison 6 Cinema in Jamestown.

Jamestown Education Association President Cody Mickelson and his wife, Emma, JEA’s PR chair and fellow educator, surely had this concept in mind when they planned their JEA member meeting on Nov. 3, 2016. This meeting took place at the Bison 6 Cinema in Jamestown, and centered around a complimentary viewing of the award-winning documentary on modern education, “Most Likely to Succeed.” After the movie was done, participants were invited over to Tapp’s Lounge, to talk about the film and socialize.

“We heard about the film from some other teachers who had seen it at a conference they attended,” Cody Mickelson said. “We also saw the trailer for the film online, that’s what spiked our interest in seeing it ourselves. We had decided during the summer to try to host a screening through JEA during the school year.”

As it happened, the Department of Public Instruction had planned a tour of screenings of “Most Likely to Succeed,” which included stops in cities across the state with panels of education experts and the executive producer of the film, Ted Dintersmith. North Dakota United helped to sponsor this tour, and at the Bismarck showing, NDU President Nick Archuleta participated in the panel afterwards.

JEA President Cody Mickelson and PR Chair Emma Mickelson discuss “Most Likely to Succeed” at the post-movie discussion at Tapp’s Lounge in Jamestown.

The Mickelsons had seen NDU communications that went out to members, promoting the movie, and were dismayed that Jamestown was not on the list of cities in which it would be shown. But that presented them with an opportunity.

“After we received the NDU emails detailing that the film was touring the state, we were excited — but then disappointed that it wasn’t coming anywhere near Jamestown,” Cody Mickelson said. “Having a screening hosted by JEA was a great way to share the film with others who were interested and unable to attend one of the other showings.”

Emma Mickelson contacted DPI and was pointed in the right direction for getting permission to show the film in Jamestown, from the film’s official website at www.mltsfilm.org. “They were really easy to work with,” Cody said. “Essentially, the film is supposed to be shown to a group and a discussion should occur after. The discussion can be a formal panel with invited panelists, or a less formal conversation. We opted to keep it light and have an informal discussion at a social afterwards.”

The day of the movie arrived, and the event went off without a hitch. “We think it went well,” Cody said. “We had a good turnout from people in the area, some traveling a fair distance. Our discussion afterwards was also well attended, interesting and entertaining.”

A frame from the movie “Most Likely to Succeed” in Jamestown at the Bison 6 Cinema.

Based on the results of the movie screening, the leaders at Jamestown Education Association highly recommend their approach to other locals and chapters looking for a different way to bring members together and get them talking about issues pertinent to their profession. “We’re looking to increase participation and dialogue,” Cody said. “Events like this offer a benefit to our members beyond the typical business meeting — though those are important — they should not be the only way our members get together. You can use something like this as a non-intimidating way to get others involved.

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