Posted by: COSI | July 16, 2010

A Hopeful day

post written by Kim Kiehl

A couple Saturdays ago I had the great pleasure of attending the very first graduation of students from Metro High School held here at COSI. We have been connected to this school since it started and it seems like yesterday that the very first class of students showed up here on their now famous first day scavenger hunt. In case you don’t know about this school it is an amazing place where students from districts across Franklin county go to school together. The students don’t just get grades, they work on a topic until they achieve mastery…until they really understand it completely. They spend time in the community—we have two Metro classrooms here where a variety of classes are taught. They go to classes at Ohio State…in fact many of the students will be starting college this fall as sophomores because they have taken enough college credits during their last years of high school to skip the freshman year.

This is all great but what was most amazing about this graduation to me was hearing what these students, these ordinary kids, from ordinary homes across the county, had to say about their high school experience. They talked about how they had been pushed, gently, but pushed nonetheless to be more than they thought they could be.

They talked about how they were expected to achieve mastery and how their teachers did not settle for anything less than their best work. They talked about their experiences in the community, meeting people they never would have met and engaging in experiences they never would have had.
But most of all they talked about relationships. They talked about relationships with their principal, Marcy Raymond. They talked about their relationship with Rich Rosen, Corporate VP of Education & Philanthropy at Battelle. They talked about their relationships with their teachers, teachers who had pushed them and made them work harder than any teacher in their lives before this. They talked about their relationship to us and the other sites around town where they went for classes and for intern experiences. They talked about their relationships with each other. These students, from the poorest neighborhoods of Columbus to the richest neighborhoods of the suburbs, had formed deep and solid friendships. They had come to know each other as people, just as their teachers had come to know each one of them as an individual person. They had bonded together around learning.

This graduating class included, Josh, the son of one of our Support Services Team members, Tom, both seen in this photo. I remember talking to Tom one day here at COSI about this new school that was starting and how it might be perfect for his son and here we were watching him graduate with his friends from a place that had taken on great meaning for him.

This Saturday morning experience was the most hopeful day I have had related to education in a long time. It gave me hope that we can provide our students with an education that is meaningful rather than one they tolerate. It made me believe that we can figure out how to graduate students who are ready for the world they will be going out into and who will go out into that world feeling like they can make a difference. I am proud to know all of the people who are making this school work and I hope that it becomes a model for the future of more schools. As Rich Rosen said in his graduation speech, “It is only the beginning.”


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