Step 1: Answer the questions below.
a) Describe your project. What did you do? How did you do it?
For my project, I was lucky enough to be a part of the wall of excellence team. This wall (although it may be a screen as apposed to a wall), will display the excellent accomplishments of current and alumni Rapids as well as staff and members of our community. Throughout the year, we designed a criteria and a basic outline of what this wall may look like. For the following months, our main focus was getting input from the staff and improving upon the ideas we had already created. Although many of these ideas are still just ideas, we hope to have a physical product sometime next year.
b) What problems did you run into? Were you able to solve these challenges? How did you solve these challenges? Is there anything you would do differently?
A problem that we continued to run into was that everyone wanted to know what the wall would look like. When discussing the criteria with teachers and asking them questions about their opinion, most times the teachers would answer our question with their own (again, mostly regarding the final product). We were able to solve this by making sure to start the discussion by saying “we do not know what it will look like at this point, however we have many ideas regarding the criteria to share with you today”. This way, the direction of the conversation was established and everyone was on the same page. If I were to go through this process again, I would have started every conversation like this but until I saw that a pattern had developed, I did not think it was necessary. Recently, we have been referring to the Hyde Creek display when asked about the final product and I believe that it helps as it finally gives people a visual.
This is a wall of excellence that can be found at Hyde Creek. It is very similar to what we would like to display at Riverside.
c) What did you learn? Were you able to learn new skills or strengthen previous ones?
There were many things that I have learned and many things that I am certain I will learn as I continue this project next year. One idea that I was uneducated about was how much work a well thought out wall of excellence can take. Anyone can put pictures of the smartest people, the best athletes and the teacher who has taught the longest on the wall but it takes a team to create a project in which the people who are not always being recognized get the chance to share their excellence with the school. I am excited to learn how we will create a program to display this information and to receive hands on experience for a project that I helped build from the ground up.
d) What did you learn from being a part of this project?
From being a part of this project, I learned just how humble Riverside is. When looking at the many projects Riverside has created I was astonished and so proud to be a part of this community. I also learned that excellence can be found in every aspect of our lives and it is up to us to share this excellence with our peers, teachers and community.
Impact: How might your project positively impact the social and emotional well being of students/our school? What can be done to increase the impact of this idea on the school?
I believe that this project will greatly improve the confidence of Riverside. We are an amazing school (I am a bit bias; however, I have heard many people make these type of comments before) yet we do not show off the amazing projects or accomplishments we have achieved over the years. Therefore, I believe that this would be an amazing project to showcase the many different talents at our school and to emphasize Riverside’s pride. Although I think this is an amazing idea, others may not. There are people who will never say “look at me, look at me”, and whilst being recognized for their accomplishments, they are intimidated and humiliated. So, as long as we present this idea in a relaxed and inviting manner, I am sure that we will have many candidates.
Desirability: What could you change to make your project more desirable to students, teachers, administrators, parents or the community?
If I said that I would make the application process easy, that would mean that the criteria would be less strict which would mean that the selection process would be that much more difficult. With that said, I believe that if students believe their project or the project/idea of someone they know deserves recognition, they will take the time to fill out an application form. If we make this process very straight forward and easy to follow, I think this will help increase the desirability to fill out a form.
Integratability: What would you change to make this idea easier to integrate into a school setting?
We are a very technology based school; however, I know many schools in the lower mainland who are not. Therefore, I believe that if schools took into consideration our applications, our application process and the criteria to be selected, their current walls of excellence could improve. I find that many schools get so caught up in their athletic accomplishments that they forget about the other 80% of students who do not play school sports. So if they could add or reorganize their current (physical) wall of excellence, I think the accomplishments and recognitions would be that much more special and interesting.
Feasibility: Looking back what would you change? What would you keep?
Looking back at the project, I would definitely keep our mission statement and our criteria layout. However, one thing that I would change would be my expectation for this year. In my mind, I did not realize how much time and effort needed to go into this project to make it successful for years to come. If I created more attainable goals for myself and my team, I believe I would have been more focused on the process and not as focused on the final product.