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Outside the Lunchbox Luncheon

The DoSeum Welcomes Amanda Ripley, author of The Smartest Kids in the World and How They Got That Way

By Vanessa Lacoss Hurd, CEO, The DoSeum

The best in education: it’s something on which everyone has an opinion, but on which few can agree. What’s best for my kids and for our community’s future leaders? How do I ensure that I, as a parent, educator, or caregiver prepare my children for the challenges of the 21st century?

On Thursday, September 10th, The DoSeum will host guest speaker Amanda Ripley, author of The Smartest Kids in the World: and How They Got that Way, at its annual Outside the Lunchbox Luncheon. Participants will have the opportunity to hear the author speak about her investigation followed by an interactive dialogue with the audience on how these issues play out in San Antonio’s education system. Proceeds from the fundraiser will benefit The DoSeum’s educational programs and community initiatives.

Ripley’s book, The Smartest Kids, illuminates the key differences between the education systems in countries considered to be the educational “superpowers”, and the American education system. Ripley follows the experiences of three American students abroad—one in Poland, one in Finland, and one in South Korea. From the narratives of these three students, she distills essential differences in the attitudes of students, parents, teachers, and communities toward education in the education superpowers.

Ripley writes in her book, “The education superpowers believed in rigor. People in these countries agreed on the purpose of school: School existed to help students master complex academic material. Other things mattered, too, but nothing mattered as much.” In the education superpowers, students engage in their education with the belief that a rigorous education will reap real rewards in life. They buy into the promise of their education. Rigorous material, especially STEM subject material, is essential to success and must be grappled with. Initial failure is acceptable, but through hard work, success could be attained.

The parents of more successful students saw education as a part of their jobs—coaching their students through difficult material and demonstrating to their children the value of learning through activities such as reading for pleasure. And education superpowers actively invested in better teachers, holding their teachers to standards comparable to those set for lawyers and doctors. The overall attitude being that rigor was beneficial and hard work necessary.

The common denominator in global education, Ripley found, is dissatisfaction. “Everywhere I went, in every country, people complained about their education system. It was a universal truth and a strangely reassuring one. No one was content, and rightly so. Educating all kids to high levels was hard, and every country—every one—still had work to do,” writes Ripley.

The DoSeum invites you, our community, to join us in an engaging conversation on how to improve the quality of learning in San Antonio. At The DoSeum, we believe that through joyful learning and discovery, we grow minds, connect families, and transform communities. Through events like these, we serve as a convener that brings together different members of our community to cultivate an environment of collaboration. And we seek to support community development and growth primarily through the development of infrastructure, programs, initiatives and resources that support local families and educators, thereby positively impacting education as a whole.

To best support children’s learning experiences, or growing minds, we provide children with multiple points of contact with content to expand their learning capacity, acting as a charging station that both invigorates and enhances children’s learning. The DoSeum provides an environment in which young learners and families together can actively engage in challenging material with a focus on exposing children to challenging STEM concepts at an early age.

As The DoSeum continues to grow as an educational institution, we will continue to invest in educators—it started with our pre-opening STEMtastic nights and will continue with our teacher cohorts this fall. Teachers, students, and the community alike will also benefit from the research of our learning lab’s investigation into early childhood development.

Only your support makes these initiatives possible. We invite you to join in an ongoing conversation about our children’s education, and to benefit from the incredible insight of Amanda Ripley, at our annual Outside the Lunchbox luncheon on September 10th at the Tobin Center. Tables of ten may be sponsored at levels ranging from $1,500 to $10,000 so there is a way for everyone to get involved and show their support. Visit for more information or purchase individual tickets here. To purchase a table please contact Laura Marquez, Vice President of Advancement, at 210.212.4453 or


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Posted by Miranda Clark at 9:36 AM
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