By Theresa Harrington
Achieve Academy charter school Co-Principal Lucy Schmidt was one of more than 1,000 administrators who recently spent a day seeing her campus through the eyes of a student as part of a national “Shadow a Student Challenge.”
The goal was to help school leaders empathize with students and teachers – and to identify strengths and weaknesses, then take actions to improve their learning environments and campus cultures.
The national, weeklong challenge was created through a partnership between the “School Retool” professional development program, Stanford University’s d.school, IDEO design and innovation consultants and the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation. According to the Shadow a Student website, 1,440 educators in 26 countries pledged to shadow students, jot down their observations and then debrief with their staffs to discuss “hacktivities” – or short-term solutions – to challenges faced by their students. In California, 277 educators signed up to participate.