Posters with “We Are Greyhound Scholars” written in bold plaster the walls of every classroom at CHS. The posters have six attributes of a Greyhound Scholar highlighted: self-aware, curious, inclusive, caring, creative, and collaborative. Students received brief explanations about the new Greyhound Scholars initiative in class meetings at the beginning of the school year, but many still do not understand why it began or what it represents.
Journalism Advisor, Erin Sucher-O’Grady, Director of Learning Support, Carroll Lehnhoff-Bell, and Social Studies Department Chair, Josh Meyers, were part of the team that created the Greyhound Scholar initiative as a way to support the district’s profile of a graduate. During the pandemic, the three teachers noticed a decrease in the awareness of Clayton High Schools’ core values in both teaching and learning.
“What we [Sucher-O’Grady, Lehnhoff-Bell, and Meyers] were observing with the amount of turnover in faculty, a result of the pandemic, and the rise of disruptive technology in people’s lives, was this shift. It felt like there was a shift away from what I knew to be what Clayton was all about,” said Sucher-O’Grady.
Sucher-O’Grady decided the idea of being a scholar was the perfect way to bring Clayton back to a common goal as faculty and students.
“A scholar is really somebody who’s going to question things and not necessarily take something at face value. Like why is it this way? How do we understand this? And always probing for that deeper question,” said Sucher-O’Grady
The initiative is for more than just students, it is also for teachers and other staff. The founders noticed groups of faculty who spent time outside of school having scholarly discussions but wanted it to be more universal.
“Instead of there being these pockets of scholarly people that exist in the building that are doing this type of thinking, it’s bringing everyone together and naming it [Greyhound Scholars] to say this is who we are,” said Lehnhoff-Bell.
The hope is that the initiative will be able to bring a more collective style of intellectual learning to the foundation of students’ education as well as bring an identity to being a Clayton educator.
The initiative was not only a way to bring core values back to Clayton High School, but also to promote the idea of the Profile of the Graduate, a district-wide initiative that began under the former superintendent, Dr. Sean Doherty, and continued under the current superintendent, Dr. Nisha Patel.
“It [Profile of the Graduate] is our North Star…our why, our purpose. In today’s world, these skills will allow our students to be successful in whatever path they choose. It will allow our students to be transformational in the next step of their journey,” said Patel.
Each school within the district is working towards applying the values of the profile to their respective curriculums, and Greyhound Scholars is one way the high school is doing so.
“For us, the marketability of the Greyhound Scholar felt easier to digest for our students and for teachers,” said Lehnhoff-Bell.
Buddy Sodemann, Clayton High Schools’ assistant principal, explained why the Greyhound Scholars initiative is special to the high school, and may not be brought to other schools within the district.
“I think we could use the word ‘scholar’ with our younger kiddos and middle school kids, but I think we [schools within the district] all like having our own little piece with the Profile of the Graduate tying it all together,” said Sodemann.
While the word “scholar” may be used in all classrooms K-12, Greyhound Scholars will continue to remain special to the high school.
Clayton is a place where students and teachers alike, are expected to ask questions and dive deeper simply because they love to learn.
“Clayton is the place that makes the extraordinary ordinary,’” said Lehnhoff-Bell, remembering a quote from social studies teacher, Daniel Glossenger, that encapsulates Greyhound Scholars’ purpose.
Clayton is the place that makes the ordinary extraordinary”
— Daniel Glossenger
Throughout the next few years, the effects of Greyhound Scholars will become more evident as the student and faculty body begins to embrace and understand it. The initiative is still in its early stages. Currently, Sucher-O’Grady, Lehnhoff-Bell, and Meyers are currently working on a grant to fund a book club for teachers. The book club would involve deep discussions about how the book could help improve Clayton High School. Eventually, students may also be able to participate.
For now, Sucher-O’Grady, Lehnhoff-Bell, and Meyer’s main goals are to bring awareness to the initiative and its goals, as the seeds of a new Clayton High School culture begin to grow.