PBS documentary on Adventist education to premiere at La Sierra
Nov. 11, 2013
By Darla Martin Tucker
Next week, local audiences will have the opportunity to view a new documentary featuring the Seventh-day Adventist education system, prior to the film’s release on public television network PBS early next year.
La Sierra University’s School of Education in partnership with the Pacific Union Conference of Seventh-day Adventists will host a premiere screening of the new Martin Doblmeier documentary, “The Blueprint: The Story of Adventist Education.” The event will take place at the La Sierra University Church on Tuesday, Nov. 19, at 7:30 p.m. Admission is free. The church is located at 4937 Sierra Vista Ave., Riverside.
“The Blueprint” spotlights Seventh-day Adventist elementary and secondary education, one of the largest, private faith-based school systems in the world. The film includes data and insights resulting from La Sierra’s groundbreaking CognitiveGenesis study through the Center for Research on K-12 Adventist Education.
Throughout the documentary the message is delivered that regardless of subcultural differences or school size, Adventist schools building upon the denomination’s holistic education model, or blueprint designed by church visionary Ellen White, produce well-rounded, high-performing students.
The film includes interviews with CognitiveGenesis research director Elissa Kido as well as with other leaders in Adventist and secular education and research. It tells the stories of several Adventist academies in various parts of the United States highlighting their unique challenges and approaches to teaching. They include the Bronx-Manhattan Seventh-day Adventist School, Holbrook Indian School in Arizona, Columbine Christian School in Colorado, Oakwood Adventist Academy in Alabama, and Loma Linda Academy in Southern California.
Jovannah Poorbear-Adams, vice principal of the Holbrook school in Arizona was among educators interviewed in the film. She talks about her past struggles with self-esteem and feelings that she was less than everyone else because of her skin color and her Native American ancestry. She attended Holbrook as a girl, was baptized, graduated from college then returned to Holbrook with a mission to give what had been given to her. “I found an identity, a self worth here,” she says. “I became myself here.”
Over four years CognitiveGenesis surveyed more than 52,000 students at more than 800 Adventist schools. “In all grades and in all subjects, students in Adventist schools performed above the national average,” says Kido in the documentary.
“They actually got just about everybody to participate [in the survey]. And that’s unique,” comments David Lohman, an education professor at the University of Iowa.
Doblmeier is an award-winning producer of documentaries on religion and spirituality. His company, Journey Films, has created more than 25 documentaries that have aired on PBS, ABC, NBC, and The History Channel. Journey Films also produced “The Adventists” and “The Adventists 2,” both of which aired on PBS stations around the country.