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Shadow a Student Challenge Helps Administrators Understand Kids

Achieve Academy charter school Co-Principal Lucy Schmidt was one of more than 1,000 administrators who recently spent a day seeing her campus through the eyes of a student as part of a national “Shadow a Student Challenge.”

The goal was to help school leaders empathize with students and teachers – and to identify strengths and weaknesses, then take actions to improve their learning environments and campus cultures.

Organizers have created “tool kits” with resources for sharing their experiences with others. Although they encourage administrators to shadow students anytime throughout the year, they created the challenge week for the first time this year as a way to bring attention to the practice and build momentum for it, said Susie Wise, director of the K-12 lab network at the Stanford d.school, who helped organize the challenge.