Springfield City School’s faculty members gather around Superintendent Bob Hill, right, in the center of the high school after escaping their escape rooms to begin their convocation Tuesday. Bill Lackey/Staff

Springfield teachers play escape game before they go back to school

Springfield teachers prepared to get back to the classroom on Tuesday but first they had to escape from the classroom.

About 1,000 Springfield City School District teachers met at Springfield High School for the annual back to school convocation on Tuesday. But this year it had a twist. Teachers were split into groups and assigned a classroom for an escape game.

“It was a little intimidating at first because I didn’t know what we would be doing,” said Haley Urschel, a first year teacher at Lagonda Elementary School.

Each group had to find clues and solve problems to get a code that would unlock a padlock somewhere in the classroom. To win, they had to be the first to complete the challenges and hand over the lock to Superintendent Bob Hill.

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“It was fun to work through the clues with my team and just get to know some other people from Springfield,” Urschel said.

The escape game was a collaborative idea between teachers and district staff, Hill said. It’s a good way to practice teamwork and build relationships between teachers.

“We as adults model behavior for our students,” he said. “So if our students see that the adults are excited, that they have strong relationships with each other, with everybody in the building. It’s contagious.”

The game focused on the four pillars of focus in the district’s strategic plan. They’re priorities for the district, Hill said. The pillars are diverse, curious, collaborative and student-centered.

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First through ninth grades will go back to school on Wednesday, Hill said. The rest of the high school students will begin Thursday and kindergartners will begin next week.

The convocation is one of the only times all Springfield City Schools teachers get together.

“This is a large ship and it’s going to take a while to turn but with the awesome staff that we have … we will get to where we want to be,” Hill said.

Urschel’s team didn’t win the escape game but she said it made her excited to hit the ground running this school year.

“It’s made me a little more comfortable I guess just knowing that there’s a lot of people in the same position as me that are new teachers,” she said.

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