Robbinsdale Area Schools

Students become the teachers

Students become the teachers

Now that the school year is underway, families have become accustomed to their students staying home from school because of professional development (PD) days. Did you ever wonder what happens on those days?

On Nov. 6 and 7, staff across the district attended a variety of training sessions throughout the day. At Armstrong High School (AHS), staff participated in the second installment of a new training called Student Series.

Monday’s session included student research data on various topics including the effect of class structure and the impact of hands-on learning on student engagement. 

Students read academic research and then conducted research of their own, including surveying their peers. Then they wrote a literature review on their selected school culture issue, analyzed their own data and others, and presented findings and recommendations to AHS staff. 

Students became the teachers in a setting that promoted collaboration between students and teachers. 

“We wanted a way to have students and teachers learn together about topics that matter to school culture,” said Stacy Olstadt, assistant principal at AHS. “We want to help students and staff co-create a building culture that is collaborative in nature and brings awareness to and plans responsive action steps about current topics in our students' lives.” 

The inaugural session took place in August during PD days with a student who presented on pronoun usage. November’s session was led by students in Anne Beaton’s Advanced Placement (AP) Seminar Class and focused on school culture. Future sessions will include topics like belonging and neurodiversity.

When introducing the students and their projects, Beaton said, “We are investing in this building and in this community, which is important to us.”