Building Authentic Relationships — New Tech Olympics
The New Tech High @ Coppell Olympics is an annual tradition that builds authentic relationships with learners across grade levels, as well as with school educators, staff and parent volunteers.
“The Olympics was the thing that got me hooked into the New Tech culture,” says Senior Max Lenahan. “It reminded me not only of the fun that could be had in an educational environment, but the change that students could make at the school.”
Networking groups of students from all grades is an essential element of the New Tech environment. These groups are assigned at the beginning of the year, and each group has one or two team captains who lead learners through weekly learning and bonding activities. Networking groups have about 16 students each and are sponsored by a New Tech teacher facilitator, whose name is incorporated into each group’s namesake. For example, FUZE film class teacher Kaleb Broadstreet’s group is named “Broadzilla,” Social Studies teacher Danae Boyd’s group is known as "Legally Boyd,” English Teacher Janelle Bence’s team is "Beauty and the Bence,” etc.
Fridays are flex days at New Tech High @ Coppell, which means that the networking teams can come together for school projects, academic needs, service projects and more. The Olympics are held near the start of the school year to build relationships to ensure networking success and bonding through the school year.
The day starts with an introduction of team flags and mascots. Most teams wear coordinating t-shirts that they’ve designed around their team name or mascot. The games are a mixture of athletic and academic challenges. Parent volunteers help facilitate the day. The goal is to promote school and community spirit and build relationships between learners via a fun day of competition, challenges and camaraderie.
Lenahan has been a member of the committee that plans the Olympics for two years.
“I've found that even the most reluctant of learners can really come out of their shell during the Olympics, and for me, it's easily the best event when it comes to team bonding,” he says. “I believe the community should understand that the Olympics is not only a day to let loose and have fun, but it is also a day that also exemplifies three of the most important traits of the New Tech community — leadership, community and collaboration.”
Another Friday tradition is New Tech Gives Back, where learners go out to local charities and organizations and volunteer there for the day. The next Olympics-style event is the Snacker Challenge, where each networking makes and sells food to other learners. Profits from the Snacker Challenge go to charity.
New Tech High @ Coppell is living out the CISD authentic relationships core value, which states, “We value authentic relationships. When we invest in each other, we learn and flourish.”