Shadow A Student Challenge

Press release from Henderson County Public Schools: 

One of 1,520 school leaders in 48 countries to participate in the Shadow A Student Challenge this year, Henderson County Public Schools’ Superintendent Bo Caldwell announced today that he intends to extend the school immersion experience beyond the two-week period in February and expand it to include other Central Office administrators.

The global Shadow a Student Challenge is part of an initiative called School Retool, a collaboration between the Stanford (Institute of Design at Stanford) and global design company IDEO, with support from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation. Running from Feb. 2-17, the challenge immerses education leaders in schools so they may observe the realities of student life in their schools and districts, and draw connections between observations and opportunities for action.

On Friday, Feb. 3, Caldwell shadowed West Henderson High senior Samuel Littauer through a schedule that included Journalism, Civics & Economics, AP Statistics and Spanish IV classes, segmented by Littauer’s morning announcement duties and lunch. Along the way, Caldwell met students who appreciated the superintendent experiencing 21st century learning from their points of view.

Senior Erin K. said, “He went to high school, but a lot’s changed. So it’s cool (for him) to get a perspective on the day-to-day things we go through.”

Caldwell said he had several conversations with high school students curious about the NC School Calendar law and how it impacts local school start and end dates, as well as when exams are administered in the school year.

“I was certainly asking them questions, too,” Caldwell said. “‘What needs to be offered? What are you missing?”

As a result of Caldwell’s discussions with students about their engagement with the district, HCPS has launched an Instagram account (@HCPSNC) to supplement its social media presence on Twitter and Facebook.

Additionally, Caldwell plans to expand #ShadowAStudent locally to include a visit to an elementary school and a middle school this school year, and is extending the invitation to other Central Office administrators.

About Thomas Calder
Thomas Calder received his MFA in Fiction from the University of Houston's Creative Writing Program. He has worked with several publications, including Gulf Coast and the Collagist. For his weekly #tuesdayhistory tidbits on Asheville, follow him on Instagram @tcalder.

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