For the past several weeks New School students have taken a close look at Little Five Points, Atlanta, their adjacent neighborhood. Early in that process they were struck by the number of homeless people there. They began to imagine different products and services which might improve life for homeless Atlantans. Read more about their ideas here.
This week they presented those ideas to a panel of experts–Atiba Mbwan from the Zeist Foundation, Candice Jordan of Families First, Chad Hyatt from Mercy Community Church, Austin Dickson of Literacy Action, Rob Clewly and Chris Johnson of Atlanta Awareness for Homeless Health.
From its inception The New School has been designed as a place where students engage with professionals in various fields to deepen their own learning. On Tuesday, panelists listened carefully and posed challenging questions to the students. It was a great day–not because New School students had all the answers but precisely because they didn’t. These adults with deep experience took students seriously and challenged them to dig deeper.
One parent who attended the session got to the heart of the matter in an email today.
“I wanted to tell you guys how impressed I was with the presentations and how well the kids handled the comments and questions from a real panel of experts…It appears that you guys have been teaching our kids how to closely connect with the real world, to epically fail or miss a big point, learn from it and keep going.”
Or as one student put it in response to a panelist, “That’s a great question. I don’t know the answer but we’ll find out.”