Marina >> A typical morning for Los Arboles Middle School sixth-grader Cindy Fernandez usually starts with band class where she practices songs on the clarinet. But Friday was no ordinary school day for her after she was paired up with someone who wasn’t in the class.
In fact, she doesn’t even go to the school.
Cresta McIntosh, Monterey Peninsula Unified School District’s associate superintendent of educational services, partnered with Fernandez as part of the “Shadow a Student Challenge.” The “challenge” was organized by the school district three years ago and is intended to give the administration a chance to see what it’s like for a student going to school in the area.
“It’s been a wonderful experience so far and it’s actually been very fun,” said McIntosh, who is in her third year as a participant. “I didn’t expect to have a dance class but (Fernandez) said ‘Let’s just do this, fake it until you make it.’”
But that was after McIntosh was having flashbacks of playing the flute during Fernandez’s band class. Then it was followed by another class where Fernandez talked about her upcoming project on why she wants to be an immigration attorney.
After that it was the unsuspecting dance class where Fernandez taught McIntosh some new dance moves and even participated in the limbo dance. Next up was lunch where McIntosh joined with Fernandez and her friends, Kalista Ramirez and Valeria Campos. There, McIntosh listened to what the students had to say about their experience at Los Arboles.
McIntosh said the opportunity to see a school day from a student’s perspective was quite the experience for her.
“We go into this work for students as educators,” McIntosh said. “But, we’re really interested in making sure that we’re listening to our students and leveraging their voice. And what better way than to have empathy and compassion for our students’ experiences than actually shadowing them and being a student for a day.”
Fernandez said she liked the idea of having McIntosh follow her around because of the support they gave each other getting through the day.
“I was able to help her and she was able to help me as a partner does,” Fernandez said. “I was able to see her as a kid as well. I really made her believe that she was like me, as a kid.”
Fernandez said it’s important for the administrators to see what it’s like to be a student nowadays.
“We have lots of opportunities in life,” she said. “Some take advantage of it and some others try hard to accomplish something that would take them further on down to a pathway.”
McIntosh said she listened to Fernandez and several other students talk about what it is they’d like to see get done to make a better learning environment.
Fernandez said they were talking about how the students want to get rid of the lockers and books and replace them with tablets or laptops.
“We can probably throw those things out and put in our computer and do the homework in there,” Fernandez said. “It’s much easier for us to have a computer in our hands and do the work on a computer. Today, we have the technology.”
There were a total of 23 participants for this year’s “Shadow a Student Challenge.” Los Arboles principal Stephanie Herrera has participated in all three years since the challenge was put in place.
Herrera spent the first year at Marina High because she said she wanted the opportunity to learn about what the experience was like for students who came from Los Arboles. She spent the next two years at Seaside Middle School.
“I just think that youth voice is so important and so powerful. And that’s really what should be driving the decision making at the school sites, especially,” Herrera said. “The opportunity is humbling and it also, I think, makes us better leaders because we can learn from the students what their experiences are like and nobody knows their experience better than they do.”
Last year was Herrera’s first year as principal and she said she spent most of the time seeing what she could do to make changes. She tried to meet some of the students’ demands like more freedom to express themselves in their clothing.
The school implemented the “Dress for Your Success” program and Herrera said she looks it as a way of students having conversations about clothing as opposed to talking about the strict rules restricting it.
And another big demand was allowing students to use cellphones during the break periods. Herrera said she looked at the pros and cons of allowing cellphone usage. But, it was another rule she changed this year because she thinks it’s a tool that students have access to and it’s important to them.
“It was a difficult decision for maybe just the adults because it wasn’t what our norm was and it wasn’t maybe what our experience was when we went to school,” said Herrera about changing the rules. “Navigating that has been challenging but ultimately the adults here on our campus really care about kids. What they think and what their experience has been like here.”
Juan Reyes can be reached at (831) 726-4360
Слишком уж удобная версия. Стратмор пожал плечами. - Слабое сердце… да к тому же еще испанская жара.