On Tuesday, March 12, 2019, it was back-to-school time for nearly 30 CEOs and C-Suite leaders from southwestern Pennsylvania organizations. Corporate leaders shadowed a student for the day at seven schools around the 10-county Pittsburgh region, including Quaker Valley Middle School.
The program was piloted at QVMS in December 2018, and was said to be eye-opening for both students and the CEO's as they gained firsthand looks into each other's daily lives.
During the March 12th event Quaker Valley welcomed:
- Kim Fleming, CEO Hefren-Tillotson
- Saleem Ghubril, Executive Director, The Pittsburgh Promise
- Karen Hanlon, EVP, COO, CFO, Treasurer, Highmark Health
- Jeffrey Listwak, Senior Vice President for Business Affairs, Robert Morris University
- Linda Topoleski, VP of Workforce Programs, The Allegheny Conference on Community Development
The business leaders took part in all of the student’s classes and school activities. The goal is to gain unique insights about what and how students are learning, what resources they have available and how this might prepare them for the future of work.
The shadowing experience was part of an initiative from the Allegheny Conference on Community Development in partnership with the Grable Foundation.
Other schools taking part include: Brashear High School and City Charter High, Butler Senior High School, Duquesne Elementary Center, Elizabeth Forward Middle School, and Frazier High School.
“Recognizing that today’s students are the workforce of tomorrow, regional business leaders told us that they’d like to be more engaged with the K-12 education system, but they weren’t sure where or how to start. CEO in the Classroom is a solid first step toward better engagement with educators to develop solutions to the workforce challenges our region is facing,” said Allegheny Conference CEO Stefani Pashman.
At the end of the school day the corporate leaders gathered to discuss what they saw and experienced. Some of the feedback shared at QVMS includes:
-The students have an impressive ability to learn in a variety of settings. Technology usage is a game-changer for students because it opens up a world of possibilities. The students (all of them, not just the ambassadors) were highly impressive and kind. It is clear that students are expected to collaborate with their peers and teachers - they are highly adaptable. Critical thinking is expected in all classrooms and project-based learning opportunities are prevalent.
- The teaching staff has created a warm and friendly environment where kindness is valued. Teachers offer students continuous feedback and the students use that feedback to make improvements to their work. Teacher quality is outstanding - every teacher is articulate, engaging, and clearly love what they do.