Glasgow Staff, Students Ready to Skate Into New School Year

August 23, 2021

Glasgow Middle School Principal Victor Powell had a surprise in store for teachers and he was determined to keep it a secret.

A  week before the start of school, Powell summoned 170 masked staff members to the school cafeteria to gather in groups of 12 for what was billed as a “Board Meeting.” And it was a “board meeting,” of sorts. Each team of teachers began receiving pieces of a skateboard -- wheels, deck, and design equipment -- ready to assemble for a very important client -- a Glasgow student. The Aug. 16 team building workshop encouraged Glasgow staff to think through all elements of product delivery as a united group: the importance of time management, collaboration, what individual skills each person brought to the process, as well as the customer’s specific needs and wants. “It was a great introduction to learning the strengths and weaknesses of ourselves, and other teachers, as well as a reminder on how to function as a team,” Sarah Boudart, a sixth-grade language arts teacher, said. “We solved skateboard design challenges together -- you know things like `This needs to be screwed in tighter -- who is good at that?’ Or `Oh the grip tape isn’t working right -- we are going to have to adjust our plans.’”  

Glasgow staff work together to assemble skateboard in team-building project.
Glasgow staff work together to assemble skateboard as part of a team-building project in advance of the new school year.

Powell, who became Glasgow’s principal during the prior school year, said that was the goal of the project. “What we’re all aiming to do is make sure we put in the time, effort, and planning for our `clients,’ our students, to ensure as smooth a delivery as possible this school year,” Powell said. “And then we want our kids to take what they learn and pay it forward, a concept that is important to our community.” Powell had chosen a group of 18 students, mostly incoming sixth-graders who would be new to Glasgow, many of whom had spent the entire past school year receiving virtual instruction, to play the role of the client in the “Board Meeting.” They assisted the teachers in selecting the skateboard’s graphics -- offering their specific design suggestions -- a Batman logo, the puzzle piece that represents Autism awareness, Anime characters or the Glasgow Middle School logo -- and then giving input as the staff worked to deliver the results. The clients left happy. Students were allowed to take one skateboard home, and then directed to think of a community member who would benefit from having a second skateboard created by their team. Oliver DiGeronimo, an incoming sixth-grader, said he entered the cafeteria expecting to be part of an Escape Room project. He took home a skateboard with a mole depicted on it, his favorite animal, he said, “besides hamsters and foxes.”  

Incoming seventh-grader Alexandra Coleman decorates skateboard she will donate to a community member.
Incoming seventh-grader Alexandra Coleman decorates a skateboard she will donate to a community member.

Alexandra Coleman, an incoming seventh-grader, said she had spent most of the past year learning from home over a computer. Coleman, whose skateboard depicts her favorite anime character, said the experience reminded her what it’s like to work with other people, in person, on a team. “It was good to do group work,” Coleman said. “I learned I can do this. It had been a while.”