Franklin County School Superintendent shadows 7th grade student

Dr. Mark Church with 7th grader Kaitlyn Hicks
Dr. Mark Church with 7th grader Kaitlyn Hicks (Copyright by WSLS - All rights reserved)

FRANKLIN COUNTY (WSLS 10) - There were some questions and stares today in the hallways of a Franklin County School as the superintendent went to class with a seventh grader. This is the first time the Franklin County School Superintendent has shadowed a student.

Dr. Mark Church started the school day by riding the bus with 7th grader Kaitlyn Hicks. He then went into the gym where students hang out before classes. Dr. Church is following the routine of Benjamin Franklin Middle School students as part of the Stanford d.School's "Shadow a Student Challenge" to build empathy. The idea is to walk in their shoes for an entire day taking tests that Kaitlyn has and eating school cafeteria food.


He also went to 8th grade orientation where students learned about courses they could take next year.

"We often take for granted the educational process, the students and what they have to go through. Even riding the bus this morning was more than I thought it was going to be. It's been a long time since I've had to ride the school bus and when you have to take notes, and the pressure of doing well on exams or SOLs," said Dr. Chuch.

"I hope he learns how all the students can interact with the teachers, how the teachers get to teach the kids, what we're learning about like geometry, social studies," said Hicks.

She says school has so much work in it and sometimes it's hard for parents and teachers to understand that.

The Shadow a Student challenge is open to all school leaders - at any school, anywhere in the world. Last year, 1,625 school leaders signed up in 50 states and 26 countries.