By Emma Kauffman, Digital Marketing Intern The start of a new school year can be full of many emotions for students: anxiety, excitement, and nervousness. One way to ease the transition is to enable staff to better understand their school community and the mindset of their students by participating in a Community Walk.This year, Bowie High School, a New Tech Network school, spent the first day back for teachers touring the Bowie community to better understand the students they serve and create a clear vision of their personal why. “It is important for us to continually stop and reflect on who we serve and take some time to ‘walk in their shoes,’” explained Corina V Favela, Bowie High School Oso New Tech Administrator.With three buses packed full of faculty and three tour guides, who are all current Bowie teachers who grew up and graduated from Bowie High School, the school embarked on a tour that stopped at three main locations that held significance for their students. As they drove to each stop, the tour guides shared their own unique personal stories of growing up in Bowie.The first stop was the Boys Club and Armijo swimming pool where many of the students hang out and socialize. The second stop was a local park where many of the students spend time in.The third stop, the most unique, was the US/Mexico border. The staff was dropped off at the International Bridge of the Americas where many of the students cross every morning. The staff walked the same path as many of their students do through Chamizal National Park to get to Bowie High School.  NTN School Development Coach, Jose Garcia, was impressed with Bowie’s Community Walk and encourages other schools to do the same. “Community Walks offer an opportunity for educators to build relationships and a deeper understanding of their students’ daily lives,” explained Garcia. “It is critical for educators to develop an ongoing understanding of their school community and the critical aspects of students’ lives that shape their learning in and outside of the classroom. By doing so, schools can develop new opportunities to collaborate and partner with the communities they serve.”

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