Shorewood Schools Summit kicks off with collaboration, productive conversation

BY ELI FRANK —

The first day focused on the past of Shorewood Schools, with the nearly 130 in attendance working individually, in small groups and as a whole in a number of activities to establish the history of the district. The evening was dominated by the creation of a historical timeline, focusing on issues in the world, education and the classroom from before the 1970’s up to the present.

Evan Schmidt, French teacher and Summit attendee, was pleased with the first day.

“I was very impressed by the way the Summit was organized. I thought it was very helpful to look at the past to figure out what was happening and the world, and concurrently with education … I thought it was great and I was really happy that I was there,” Schmidt said.

Schmidt was also pleased with the turnout.

“I love that it was so diverse, with respect to attendees,” Schmidt said.

Ashley Kinnard, junior and one of the student representatives who worked on planning the event and getting students to attend, was also pleased with the first day and its attendance, but would have liked to see more students.

“I thought my voice was well heard and … It went really well … [but] I wish more students would have shown up just because our voices are important. We’re trying to make [our schools] better for other students, and the adults don’t really know what’s going on in high school, but we do because we’re here everyday, day in and day out … There were some [students] at some tables but not at every table, and I wish that was different,” Kinnard said.

The evening culminated with a collaborative process to identify the trends and issues that are impacting education.

” I found the discussion on current issues and trends in education … very useful to our goal of looking toward the future of our district,” Schmidt said.

Topics like school funding, mental health awareness and authentic, project and discussion-based learning were among the most discussed and seem likely to set the tone for the rest of the Summit.

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The Shorewood Schools Summit, a three-day process to craft a vision for the future of Shorewood Schools, began Thursday evening in the Atwater Cafeteria.

Going forward, Schmidt hopes the event includes a conversation on how to give students access to an increasingly borderless world, through travel programs and scholarships.

Kinnard looks forward to the rest of the event and urged students to attend.

“There are so many good things in Shorewood … We have a great thing going and we need to figure out how to keep that great thing going but improve it … Shorewood is such a great school but we can make it better. I just hope we can do that because we are the future. If we don’t get a good education if our school isn’t good, what’s our future like? Because we are the future,” Kinnard said.

“I was energized after I left [on Thursday] and I’m excited for the remaining two sessions,” Schmidt said.

The Summit continues tonight (Friday) in the Atwater Cafeteria, from 5:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m., and Saturday, from 8:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

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