They say you can’t go home again. Today I’m going to challenge that notion. 25 years after last walking the halls of Thomas Worthington High School as a student, I plan to walk them again today. Thomas Worthington is unique and the same quarter mile center hallway remains. It’s uphill when you walk East and downhill when you walk West. But what has changed? What’s it like to be a student in 2016? I’m planning to find out.
Our Director of Secondary Education, Dr. Neil Gupta, asked our senior leadership to take the Shadow a Student Challenge. Thus over the course of this week he, our Chief Academic Officer, Jennifer Wene, and I will be spending full days as students in our schools. Our goal is to see the day from a student perspective and thus better lead our district from that same perspective.
The Shadow a Student Challenge website says that “When students feel known and valued by an adult at their school, they show up. When they are engaged in relevant, challenging work, they are building competencies for college, career, and civic life. What is it like to be a student at your school? Juggle the workload? Fit into the culture?” It calls the event a “one-day crash course in empathy.”
I’m looking forward to my day. I’ve chosen to follow Thomas Worthington Freshman, Quinn Mottice, for the day. I don’t know Quinn personally but I once walked the halls as a student with both Rob and Laurie, Quinn’s parents. We’ll meet at 7:20 AM in what is referred to as “the old bus lobby” at Thomas Worthington. From there it looks like I’ll be in Cardinal Band, Modern World History, CCSS English 1, Theatre Arts Survey, Physical Science and Honors Spanish 2. In reviewing for the day I believe there will be more rigor and stretch than I may be prepared for.
I’m looking forward to the day. I’m looking forward to getting an in-depth look at our teaching and learning but also a better understanding of how life works in the hallway, cafeteria and in other unstructured times throughout the day. I’ve got my backpack packed (although I need to admit that I’m planning to hide a thermos of coffee in my backpack. I’m thinking my coffee requirements may be a challenge while at the high school) and I’ve picked out a Worthington sweatshirt for the day. I’m going back to high school and Iike most high school students I’m fairly nervous about it.
I plan to live tweet throughout the day so if you follow me on twitter @tbowers3 you’ll get a glimpse of each period of the day. In addition, I plan to publish a blog later this week with my reflections on the experience.
As Superintendent of Schools I have a unique perspective on the organization. I believe today will enlighten and expand that perspective.
-Trent Bowers, Superintendent