Shadow a Student

A One Day Crash Course in Empathy

When students feel known and valued by an adult at their school, they show up. When instruction, programs, structures, and initiatives are designed with them in mind, they are more likely to succeed.  What is it like to be a student at your school? In SFUSD? To ride the bus? Sit in the cafeteria?  In class? Juggling the courses, passing periods, and expectations?  How do they fit into the culture?

Registration: Student Shadow Week

What is a challenge you are tackling and want to understand through the eyes of a focal student?

February 19 – March 2: Consider a learning goal in partnership colleagues with whom you share a priority.  Clear your calendar, silence your walkie-talkie, throw on your sneakers, and immerse yourself in the life of a student for a day.

Download the Shadow a Student Toolkit once you’ve registered to help you prepare for your day.

After you’ve shadowed a student, team up with your colleagues to build your learnings into your next steps and take three minutes to share your insights with the district so we can learn forward together.

Here are the steps you should take:

  1. Sign up on
  2. Pick a shared initiative, POP, or other school or department priority
  3. Reach out to a site leader to ID a focal student (if you aren’t one)
  4. Set aside a day in your calendar during (or ASAP after) the week of Feb. 19th.
  5. Set a date with your colleagues to share insights and next steps
  6. Get the student and parent permission (the toolkit has tools for this) and inform their teachers
  7. Shadow and take notes on observations & insights using the toolkit
  8. Share insights and plan next steps with your colleagues at your scheduled meeting
  9. Share your insights with the district by filling out a 3 minute survey

We look forward to hearing how your day shadowing a student informed your perspective!