Some of my best memories as a principal was being in the classroom and trying to see the students’ school experience through their eyes. Brickey-McCloud principal, Dr. Susan Hutton, shadowed Blake Dougan’s fifth grade class last week, spending the day seeing her school through the lens of several students.
Student shadowing is a powerful tool to help administrators capture insights about how to improve the educational experience for all students moving forward. Principal Hutton’s plan was to do the full day from arrival to dismissal, joining the class as a student, on her best behavior, of course.
Principal Hutton was able to follow through with her plan, from waiting in the hallway at arrival to lining up for dismissal at the end of the day. Throughout the day, she engaged in social studies class to learn about the 19th amendment, and reading comprehension in the English class which also included a snack.
Principal Hutton who by now is Student Hutton, for sure, participated in less mind demanding mid-day PE class, indoor recess and lunch which she ate with a group from the class who asked her to join them.
After lunch, classes picked back up with the academics, studying the principles of aeronautics in math and launching a bottle rocket in STEM, later designing their own rocket within small groups.
Student Hutton’s day ended at dismissal with these reflections, “The students were so welcoming to me as a new student and showing me the ropes. They took great care of me. The teachers were amazing, too!”
For the students who had Principal Hutton as a student with them all day: “You did a good job as a student! I think it’s neat you stayed with us all day. When are you doing it again?”
Returning to the endless duties as principal, Dr. Hutton believes her day as a student in her school was invaluable. “It really opens my eyes to see how the decisions we make as leaders impact the school day for our students. I learned a lot to keep in mind for next year!”
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