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July 27, 2021 / Innovation, School design

Read our interview below with Rennie M. Taylor, Assistant Principal at Stuart-Hobson Middle School.

What CityBridge program did you participate in?

Design Fellowship in the fall of 2020

What was the most impactful or meaningful part of participating in CityBridge programming?

Design Fellowship exposed my team to new tools and methods to support the social and emotional development of our students. The program gave our team the opportunity to collaborate with other educators across the District to problem-solve school-related issues.

How has your experience with CityBridge influenced or helped you in your life and career?

Design Fellowship helped expand my leadership capacity, and it refined my change management skill set. As a change agent, I feel equipped and prepared to address and solve complex challenges that impact the quality of teaching and learning at my school.

What are you up to now?

With the support from our CityBridge partners, our design team recently expanded our lunch bunch initiatives to build students’ sense of belonging, peer relationships, and teacher-students relationships in our self-contained program and other classes. Also, our design team partnered with our PTA to host a social and emotional learning biking club for students who need extra support in these areas. Finally, our design team supports a Craft and Chat Club and a Girls Group to help students foster relationships with their peers and teachers.

What piece of professional advice would you give CityBridge alumni and education entrepreneurs?

The CityBridge experience is transformational. Educators will learn how to re-imagine education while problem-solving school-related issues. Educators will learn how to use different tools such as empathy interviews and quick wins to gather information about a problem of practice and gain deeper insight about a topic. Additionally, educators will learn how to build community buy-in and engagement as they support and guide various school initiatives. Altogether, educators should approach the CityBridge program with a growth mindset.

Fill in the blanks: “Before I participated in CityBridge programming, I used to think ____. After participating in CityBridge programming, I now think _____.”

Before I participated in CityBridge programming, I used to think that solving school-related problems was an aggregate process. After participating in CityBridge programming, I now think that school communities can be transformed by implementing different ethnographic techniques that are grounded in qualitative research that gets to the heart of a problem. The implementation of these techniques builds community and engagement among all stakeholders. In short, the program transforms individuals into educational practitioners.