Student council members reflect, share goals with district leadership
A student may want to join student council for various reasons. They love to lead, want to be an educator some day, have a passion for planning events, or meet new people. To put it simply, most want to make their school better.
In CCSD59, student council members from Friendship, Grove, and Holmes Junior High work to make that happen each day. As the new quarter began this January, several leaders from each junior high had the opportunity to share their work with district leaders. Students, principals, and council sponsors spoke with district leadership about what problems they feel are challenging their fellow students and staff the most, and what improvements they would like to be part of moving forward.
“Very rarely do students reach out with their concerns, and I wanted to find a way to elevate their voices,” said Dr. Terri Bresnahan, Superintendent of Schools. “They live their own experiences at school every day and their perspective is so valuable to ensuring we are meeting their needs.”
Students got a first-hand account of what each member of the Superintendent’s Leadership Team does, how members of the Board of Education are elected from President Randy Reid, and what goes on at the Administration Center each day.
As the discussions unfolded, a theme of the day was making students feel comfortable, and providing a space for them to share ideas or concerns. Students in attendance bypassed any possible nerves about sharing with a new group to talk about how they feel their schools could improve. They covered a range of topics, including school safety, relationships with staff, before and after school care, community service, and their current schedules.
“It stood out to me how the students shared concern and empathy for their teachers, as well as their need for having trusted adults within their schools,” said Dr. Bresnahan. “The leaders showed genuine compassion for the work their teachers are responsible for and truly wanted to find ways to help support them. They also spoke about how some students may be struggling with difficult issues and having a safe space at school with an adult who they could confide in was important to them.”
For many in attendance, it was the first time they had been able to meet their fellow CCSD59 students from other buildings. They were eager to get the perspective and experience from those in other parts of the district, and plan to take the conversations back to their respective student councils.
The group plans to meet one more time in the spring to discuss how their school year is progressing.
“I was eager to share some of my ideas, including learning more about culture, adding more topics about diversity in our curriculum, and field trips for hands-on learning experiences,” said Sofia, an eighth grade student at Holmes. “I’m looking forward to learning more about the other schools and expressing what could make our learning experience better.”