From the beginning of our work close to 2 years ago, one of the most important voices in the design of Compass Community Collaborative has been that of students, not just recent graduates but young adults that are presently in school. From the Compass Founding Board and Executive Design Team to our pilot program this summer at CSU, getting the perspective of kids that are in school every day has been invaluable in our design. Our model of putting students at the center of the decision-making process began long before we will open.
As part of our sharing of our story, we sat down with a local student soon on her way to college. She’s been a part of our team from early on with a goal of not only growing as a leader and designer but of helping build a school that can empower students like her (and maybe her little sister).
The following is an excerpt:
First, some background: tell me a little about yourself: where are you in your education, did your parents go to college, what are your dreams for your future in terms of education and career?
I am a senior in high school and hoping to go to CSU next year. My mom graduated from a local high school like I will and my dad dropped out in 6th grade to help his family out on their ranch. I’m not sure what I want to do in the future and what I want to study. As of late, I want to go into early childhood education and social work. I’ve found I really like kids and working with people. Hopefully I’m good at it!
Why did you get involved in working with the team to develop CCC and what has motivated you to stay involved?
I heard about Compass and I got in contact with Jan and stayed since then. With time, I met a lot of the team and realized that there are a lot of passionate people working on this project, something I had never seen before. I wanted to be a part of that because I was passionate too and it was finally a group I could really connect with. I like what Compass stands for, I really think it’s something missing from our community.
Compass students will be working on “real world” issues. Based on your own experiences in high school, what do you think will be the top three benefits for students to this learning format? You may want to think of what you have learned by working on the development of Compass.
First of all, real world issues are more important than a lot of the stuff teachers have to teach because it’s “required”. It’s also a really genuine way to learn in real world context. It’s easier to see why things are important when you know how they apply. Another thing is, I’m assuming there’d be more apparent value for education in students’ eyes. I know if I knew I was doing work that could really help the world I’d look at going to school very differently and put in 100%.
What do you think that adults need to know about teens that will make them feel more confident that a school that empowers adolescents the way that CCC will empower them will be a successful school for the students that attend and helpful to the community at large?
I think adults need to realize that traditional school is different now. Everything is different now. Things are more innovative so we need to be too, and that starts with our education. Schools like Compass will cater to the more aware and creative aspects in students, guiding them to be the best they can be.
Is there anything else you would like to say to families who might be considering enrolling in Compass? Something they should know about your experience in the current school model, or your experience with the prototype, or your confidence in the school development team, or anything else that you want to say?
I just want to say if I was a parent I’d definitely consider enrolling my kids because, when thinking about school, nothing really is worse than having to go to a class that bores you out of your mind. It makes getting up every morning that much harder and the school day that much more uncomfortable. I’m jealous that kids will have such control over what they want to learn and how they’re going to do it. Students will be in the very good hands of a ton of passionate and highly qualified people to lead them in the path of their own successes.