By Renee Larr
Students at Fishers High School and Hamilton Southeastern High School will be taking on more of a direct role with the Hamilton Southeastern Foundation. The HSEF regards itself a venture capitalist for education.
“We call ourselves the Shark Tank for teachers. Our role in the community is to allow teachers and students to try new things, to innovate, and to pilot new projects that they wouldn’t be able to do in a regular state-funded public education system,” HSEF Executive Director Freedom Kolb said. “We solicit ideas from faculty and staff, and then we try to provide the funding to pilot those projects.”
Students have always served on the board of directors, but the number has increased in recent years, which led to the need for succession planning arrangements.
“Last year, our students were so incredibly strong we were disappointed to lose five of the six to graduation,” Kolb said. “What we decided to do this year was grow it to four from each high school so there is eight, and limit that to two juniors and two seniors. This year’s seniors will offer the leadership, and then next year the juniors will have seen it in action for a year and become the leaders next year. We will have some imbedded succession planning and continuity for the district.”
The two schools determine which students will serve in different ways.
“HSE participates in the Purdue extension program called Chance to Serve, where they spend some time studying philanthropy and community service. Then Fishers High School is through a nomination and application process,” Kolb said.
The students are held to high expectations.
“They’re seated members of our board alongside 25 community leaders. They’re truly expected to hold their own, voice concerns and share ideas,” Kolb said. “They would bring perspective in terms of how to engage the student body, what deficits do they see in the classroom and what new ideas would be more engaging or beneficial to students.”
For more, visit hsefoundation.org.