In this month’s blog, readers are going to have the pleasure of hearing a student’s perspective about Urbandale High School. Urbandale senior, Elaine Tilly, shares insights about how things look and how she feels about being a student at UHS. Her thoughts highlight our efforts to transform and make learning meaningful for our students. Enjoy! – Dr. Doug Stilwell
There is not much that impresses me, but Urbandale High School does. When I was asked to write this guest blog I was given a number of different things that I could talk about such as Quality and Continual Improvement tools like a capacity matrix, PDSA Cycle, parking lot, etc. But I am not going to talk about any of those. Don’t get me wrong, those things are important, but they are not the main idea. Let me tell you what makes Urbandale High School awesome!
I am a transfer student. In my hunt for the right school I went and looked at all the different school systems in the area. None of them were extremely bad schools, but they all had one thing in common that I just couldn’t get over. It was all about the teaching and not the students. That is what I loved about Urbandale. It truly is a student-centered learning environment.
All of the teachers seem to understand that we are not just one mind that learns one way, but a cultivation of different minds that all work in different ways. It is not that one learns and the other one doesn’t, it is that one learns this way and the other another. That is what I loved about Mrs. Bunce’s class: she used every teaching tool at her disposal to help us learn the material. I know that she prides herself on not giving us a book because that way we have to find the answers ourselves. She makes us look in every corner to find the answer and we are happier for it in the end.
It is not only Mrs. Bunce that does this, but ALL of the teachers at UHS. They know that some day we will leave and go off on our own. That is why they are giving us the tools to think for our selves and look in every corner for the answers that we might seek. They teach us the ways of the world and in doing so help us see it in a different way. We come to believe in them, as they come to believe in us.
Teachers are not the only people that have moved me in Urbandale High School. Students are also one of the leading factors in the school. What I have noticed is that they all have something that makes them different, but they seem to embrace one another despite the differences. Take me for instance. If you were to ask a person if they know Tilly then you will come to know me as a wacky, outspoken person that enjoys music way more than she should. But despite that it seems that everyone has come to accept me for who I am. I don’t know if I have to tell you this but that is a BIG thing for a student body to do. It just shows that the school is doing what it needs to in order to interest students in people outside of themselves.
UHS not only has become my sanctuary, it has become the place that has given me purpose. Before I came to Urbandale I never thought that I was someone special. I knew that I was smart, but I never really saw myself as the person that I am today. Today I am a leader, I am a singer, I am a friend to everyone, I am a person that cares, and I am a person that has succeeded. There are so many things that I have accomplished in these last two years at Urbandale that I could not have achieved anywhere else.
As I said before, there is not a lot that impresses me, but Urbandale High School does. I am proud to be the product of a system that I not only believe in, but also believes in me. It is gratifying to know that other students will follow in my footsteps and will achieve just as much as I have. Urbandale has made a difference in me and in every student that it holds. Thank you to all that have made it possible.