School of the Future Reflects on Orientation and Looks Ahead to Coming School Year

These past three weeks, the School of the Future team has been getting excited about starting
the school year in a virtual setting. Rather than seeing this COVID-19 environment as a setback,
Emma, Kaitlin, Sierra, Abbey, and Olivia have been enjoying orientation and have drawn
inspiration for how to keep students engaged from behind their computer screens in the coming
months. Over Zoom, this year’s Promise Corps orientation has featured many instructive
professional development sessions, team-building activities, and creative ways for the whole
cohort to get to know each other. Below, the School of the Future team reflected on the
highlights of orientation and the aspects of the school year they are looking forward to the most.
What was your favorite professional development training and why?
Olivia says her favorite training was the presentation on cultural competence led by Brandon
Brown, a technical consultant for the Lewis Katz School of Medicine at Temple University.
“I really enjoyed it because I believe cultural competence is an extremely important topic to be
discussed to ensure we are embracing diverse environments and classrooms as College and
Career Coaches,” Olivia said. “I also enjoyed this training because it allowed for us to dive deep
into our own beliefs, values, and identities to discover what biases we may have. It was very
eye-opening and informative.”
What was your favorite team building activity and why?
While the two weeks of orientation were filled with almost too many ice breakers and team building
activities to count, Sierra said her favorite was on the last day where the school teams were asked to
create a skit based on the crazy outfits they had worn for Wacky Tuesday. As the SOF team all came
dressed as characters from The Grinch, their skit was a Christmas-themed story about a rivalry between
Santa Clause and the Grinch (pictured below).
Another popular team builder was the music life maps, where members shared key songs that have been
important to them throughout their lives.
“Not only were they fun to make, but it was fascinating to learn what genres of music everyone is currently
into, as well as what shaped them throughout their lives leading up to this point,” said Emma.
What are you looking forward to this school year?
All of the SOF team agrees that the part of this year they are looking forward to the most is getting to work
with the students!
“I am most excited for seeing the growth within our students this year,” said Abbey. “I think seeing growth
is one of the most rewarding feelings. So much can happen within the span of the school year and seeing
our amazing students grow into young men and women is an amazing thing.”
In addition to making connections with the scholars and staff at SOF, Sierra said she is looking forward to
growing professionally and learning more about Philly, as this is the first time she is living in the city.
If you had to describe your team in just three words, what would they be?
According to Emma, the team is some “Seriously Outstanding Females (SOF!).” Other teammates would
describe themselves as dedicated, creative, collaborative, and supportive. Overall, these five teammates
have enjoyed the last couple weeks getting to know each other and their PC cohort, as well as getting
ready to work together to bring West Philly students an awesome school year.

Kaitlin Junod- College and Career Coach at School of the Future

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