Seniors in the Altmar-Parish-Williamstown (APW) Central School District got to experience what it means to walk a mile in someone else’s shoes. Sixteen students swapped places with an APW staff member for one entire school day, taking on such roles as teacher, administrator, support staff, transportation supervisor, library media specialist, and more.
Senior Swap Day is an annual event at the APW Junior/Senior High School that gives students an opportunity to experience a day in the life of someone else.
Students can request to swap with a staff member in which they have a career interest or a staff member that they have respected or admired.
For senior Ally Hutchinson this meant swapping places with Stewart Brown, the man that assumes the ultimate responsibility of safely transporting a student population of roughly 1,400.
Ally passed a driving abstract prior to ‘swap day’ and was given, quite literally, the driver’s key on the actual ‘swap day.’
Ally oversaw the district’s transportation department for the day, working hand-in-hand with Mr. Brown to manage all aspects of the department – arranging for alternate student pickups, managing school arrivals and dismissals, checking road conditions, and bus turnarounds.
Two students, Andrew Hale and Zachery Mosher, went straight to the top on ‘swap day,’ opting for a chance to sit in the superintendent’s chair.
For Hale, the opportunity to swap with Gerry Hudson gave him insight into future career aspirations.
For Mosher, swapping was more like the highest form of flattery.
“I’ve known and respected Mr. Hudson for a long time. I thought it would be interesting to be in his shoes for the day,” he said.
Participation in Swap Day is a privilege that comes with several responsibilities and rules.
Students must participate in a planning session with their swapping mentor to review the day’s agenda and any duties that he/she will be asked to perform.
Aside from dealing with any sensitive or confidential information, the seniors truly take on most all of the staff member’s responsibilities.
Students must also dress the part, professional attire is required, and students must be on time for the school day.
Because the student swappers will be missing their regular classes for the day, the students must also be responsible for checking in with their teachers and making up any work or assignments that they would be missing.
Swap Day is coordinated in each year by Beth Dunham on behalf of the APW Student Government Club.
Dunham indicated that the response to the program is always overwhelming, from both staff members and students, and said, “The day is a great learning experience in teaching [students] responsibility, flexibility, and tolerance.”