All Hands on Deck

We are celebrating making it to the final round of the XQ Super School Project with the Twelve Days of XTH! Each day we’ll release portions of our XQ application so you can learn more about the vision for Crosstown High. 

XQ application question: How will you staff your school? How will you bring together traditional educators, non-traditional educators, and other adults to provide a full array of exciting, rigorous learning experiences for your students?

(Photo: Joanna Zhang)

(Photo: Joanna Zhang)

Because XTH will be housed amidst a bustling ecosystem of organizations and industry leaders, our students will be given ample opportunities to learn from a wide range of adults. That sort of approach – in which students are expected to spend significant amounts of time engaged in real-life work – requires something different from the teachers we hire and the partners we work with. Our approach to questions of talent and training, therefore, must include a plan for both.

CROSSTOWN TEACHERS – In our search for teachers to round out our inaugural staff, we will be looking for individuals with a strong sense of themselves, a deep love of (and belief in) the power and promise of young Memphians, and a demonstrated capacity to teach children from a wide range of backgrounds, with a wide range of strengths, needs and abilities, and via a wide array of engagement and instruction strategies.

We will establish an evaluation system for our staff that is designed first and foremost to help teachers improve the quality of their professional practice via shared, strategic inquiry into what is and isn’t working for young people in their classrooms. Our schedule will allow for sustained, regular interactions between adults.

Finally, because a core component of our work at Crosstown will also involve mentoring and advising, an essential part of our talent and training must be equipping our staff to identify and meet the social and emotional needs of their students. We plan to consult several schools who have worked for years on perfecting the role of advisory in a healthy school culture – particularly the Big Picture Learning network and City Neighbors School in Baltimore.

CROSSTOWN PARTNERS – We will construct a framework for adult mentorship and guidance that shapes how every willing adult in the Concourse approaches their interactions with Crosstown students. This training will precede any organization’s work with our students, and allow us to both ensure a high level of quality control across each student’s learning experiences, and build a deeper level of understanding across the Concourse about the developmental needs and abilities of young people. Crosstown partners will serve as mentors, project advisors, guest instructors, and ultimately, colleagues of XTH students.

YOUTH DEVELOPERS – Finally, beyond the walls of Crosstown Concourse, local youth development organizations such as BRIDGESCloud 901 and story booth will serve as models to help create our curriculum and culture. These groups have had tremendous success helping Memphis youth develop their voice. We will collaborate with these partners to bring the very best of their programs to our school so that students don’t have to wait until school is out to experience deep engagement and work that is meaningful to them.

A sampling of the attachments to our XQ application:

Youth Developers of Memphis: We will learn from some of the most effective youth development organizations in the city.

Note: Some XQ application elements have been lightly edited for clarity or brevity.

Loaded For Bear