Exhibition at Big Springs High School

Bill August

Our foray into the world of student exhibition came about as a result of a number of factors. The first of which was a general dissatisfaction with our parent/teacher conference times. Contractually, teachers are required to do twelve hours of evening conference hours spread throughout the year. Historically, and particularly since the advent of parental access to grades on-line, parental attendance has been low and we don’t feel as though we get much “bang for our buck” for the time investment. These hours had the look and feel of “what we have always done”, with the expected results from such a condition.

Motivated by the work we have been doing instructionally and with curriculum to give our students a more authentic and meaningful high school experience, as well as, a viewing of the film, “Most Likely to Succeed”, we came upon the idea that we could design a better use of this time. With a team of teachers designing the structure, and a group of students from an Event Planning class we offer handling logistics, our first attempt went off better than we had even hoped and can only be considered a wild success. The energy and excitement in the building were noticeable to all the attendance from parents and community members was unprecedented.

Reflecting on Exhibition Night brought home some powerful truths for us. There are interesting things going on in our classrooms every day, and magic happens when you make time and space for kids to show what they know and are passionate about. Also, if we wish our students to become risk takers in their learning, we have to be willing to do the same thing first. Most importantly, if you give talented and motivated people a big challenge, they will rise to the occasion. To quote one of the students who helped to plan this night, “I’m definitely going to be a part of planning the next one.” It didn’t seem to matter to her that she would no longer be in the class that had it as an assignment. This is why we do Exhibition Nights.