Saturday, August 6, 2011

Students Speak

Kick It Off
Every year in my district we have a welcome back day for all district staff. It usually consists of some kind of breakfast or lunch, a guest speaker or district admin delivering the welcome back message. It is a difficult couple hours to plan as feedback is always mixed on these type of events, and with tight budgets, outside guest speakers are not an option for us.

The Green Light
Our Superintendent, Dr. Chad Wilson, is a dynamic public speaker, he does a great job communicating his expectations for the district and recognizing successes. One element that I thought would be beneficial for this years welcome back, would be to hear from our students, listen to what they feel is working and what they hope to see this school year. With the go ahead from Dr. Wilson, I set off to figure out how to make this happen. With help from Tracy Watanabe, we gathered a group of students from across K-12, and invited them in for a short two question interview. Their responses were not prompted or edited for effect, just honest.

Coming Together
With all the negativity around public education right now I think it is important to share the good things that are happening out there while not losing sight of the high expectations we must hold ourselves too as educators. Our welcome back day this year had a different feel to it than previous years and hearing from our students and teachers (see Reflections video below), things are coming together. We have a ways to go before all students are college ready by the time they leave us, but we are off to a great start.

Thank You
I want to thank all the AJUSD students and parents for taking the time and allowing their children to share their thoughts with us. They were amazing! I would also like to thank Tracy Watanabe for all her assistance with the project and Dr. Wilson for always allowing us to run with our ideas.


  1. Jon,
    I love being part of the AJUSD family! We work as a team to focus on what's best for our learners, and hearing from them is fabulous! You did a great job creating the video!
    Kind regards,

  2. Jon,

    I was sitting with a couple of the teachers whose students were interviewed. You should have seen their glowing faces when they realized that THEY were the spark that those kiddos recalled. It was an amazing video and I think that it should be done every year.

    It is too bad we don't have a district celebration at the end of the year. It would be great fun to see how successful we've been.

    Great post. Thanks so much for sharing!


  3. @Tracy Wouldn't have happened without your help. @Francois That is a great idea to do something like this at the end of the year.

  4. Wow, Jon and Tracy,
    This is wonderful! So many great things happening in your district. I loved hearing the awesome learners who really care! I'm not sure there is time, but I'm sending the link to some people in my school to see if we can't make a video for our teachers.

    Thanks for sharing,

  5. Thanks Denise, we have had alot of great comments from teachers on how powerful it was to hear from the students. The kids were great!


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