Above and Beyond
Reflection on Chapter 2: What Are the Pros and Cons of Instructional Design?
Each blog post in this series (#WIWIK) will take a moment to reflect on the questions at the end of each chapter.
Feel free to join the conversation by responding in the comments with your answers to the discussion questions (with plain text or a link to your post).
Here is the reflection question for the second chapter:
Think about a time you went above and beyond in a role. Describe the impact this had on the organization and how you could leverage this in the future.
When I read this prompt, I immediately thought about the graduation ceremony and surrounding events I helped put on for North Stanly's Class of 2020. But since I've already written a blog about that, it feels like cheating to do it again. The other professional accomplishment I'm most proud of was building North Stanly High School's Beta Club.
Beta Club's mission is "to promote the ideals of academic achievement, character, service and leadership among elementary and secondary school students." It focuses on the four pillars of Achievement, Character, Leadership, and Service (National Beta Club, n.d.).
North Stanly already had a chapter of National Honor Society, of which I was a sponsor, and our new administrator wanted to add a Beta Club that would allow us to recognize more students who were too young to be in NHS and those who may not meet its higher grade-point-average requirement.
Full Disclosure: I was concerned about the redundancy of having two similar honor societies and believed (and still believe) it would be far better to choose which chapter's guidelines would best align with our school's goals, allow us to recognize more students, and have a financial model that was more friendly to our students and school. However, the principal was firm in this decision and asked me structure the clubs in a way that they supported each other.
After taking a semester to create the club charter and let students know about the club, we had the first induction for Beta Club in the spring semester of the 2018-2019 school year and instantly became the school's largest club. Despite only being around for half the school year, our students logged over a thousand volunteer hours and raised nearly $500 for a women's shelter and Levine Children's Hospital with our Bear's Night Out and other fundraisers.
While the students in our club did a lot of great projects, the two I'm most proud of were their involvement in Stanly County's Teen Court program and the partnership with our Occupational and Career Studies (OCS) students in the school's recycling program.
Without our Beta Club, Stanly County's Teen Court program would have failed. Our club provided students who served as the student attorney and the majority of the jury pool for the program as well as half of the adult volunteers. Had it not been for our North Stanly's Beta Club, this program would not have had enough volunteers to function, which would have been a shame given how effective restorative justice programs are when compared to traditional, punitive forms of juvenile justice.
Our recycling program accomplished a few objectives. Beta Club members partnered with OCS students (of which there was some overlap due to the way we created program requirements) in the recycling program. Unfortunately, OCS students had their own building out in the back of the school and had a separate lunch time, so interaction was limited between student groups. The recycling program changed that by providing a time for students who otherwise would not have much (if any) interaction on school grounds a time to meet and socialize every week. Additionally, because we partnered with PepsiCo and their school recycling program, we were able to attain points and keep track of our impact. We redeemed our points for gift cards that were used for the purposes of charitable donations and purchasing club supplies that allowed us to lower membership dues and offer scholarships for students who could not pay them. As far as the environmental impact of the recycling program is concerned, we collected over 11,000 pounds of materials over the two years I oversaw the program. The graphic below shows the information from our records in PepsiCo's Impact Tracker:
PepsiCo Recyling Dashboard for North Stanly High School from August 2018 through June 2020. Total recyclable material collected was 11,116 pounds. The summary section explains that this amount of material has the equivalent weight of an African elephant, enough energy to power an electric bus for a year, saved fifty trees, and avoided emission of greenhouses gases that would require ten acres of forestland a year to offset.
I was really proud of how we were able to improve the school's culture and support great organizations and causes in the community and have no doubt that the students who were a part of this club will continue making an impact in the world around them, wherever that may be.
Hobson, L. (2021). What I Wish I Knew Before Becoming an Instructional Designer. Independently published.
National Beta Club. (n.d.). About - National Beta Club. Beta Club. https://www.betaclub.org/about