Students councils meet with district leadership to discuss important topics
Electives. Schedules. E-learning. Fundraisers. Festivals.
Our junior high students recently got to share what they think of these and other topics with district leadership. Student and teachers from each student council came together to exchange ideas in the latest meeting of the Superintendent Student Council.
Groups from Friendship, Grove, and Holmes Junior High met at the Administration Center to let the Superintendent’s Leadership Team know what is going well and what has been challenging at each school
“Any time we have students come and visit us, it’s an awesome opportunity and is one of the highlights of my job,” said Dr. Terri Bresnahan, Superintendent of Schools, who started these meetings last year.
The agenda included topics important to students and the leadership team. Students voiced opinions and concerns they felt the district should know. They also compared their own experiences and resources to junior high students in other buildings.
Visiting staff members were impressed with the open dialogue and how honest the students were. For one sixth grade student, it felt like the primary reason he joined his student council.
“I like the feeling of being a part of a team and feeling like I am helping create something bigger and being integrated with the community,” he said.
One of the topics Dr. Bresnahan was interested in hearing feedback for was the recent E-Learning days. Some visitors said they had just gone through E-learning for the first time. There are always challenges that come with learning from home, such as internet connections, distractions from siblings or pets, and power outages. While some enjoyed going through lessons in their own home, others preferred to be in-person, when possible.
The experience was different for each person. One student shared that the class structure was helpful to how she learns.
“My experience was different from some others because I found some things simpler in my classes,” she said. “Some of my teachers seemed to get straight to the point, like in science, for example. I thought it was helpful and positive.”
Students also talked about current elective offerings and what they would like to see added to their W.I.N. (What I Need) blocks. One person mentioned changes in the student population at her school, with Newcomers contributing to an increase in Russian-speaking students, and how the district can support them and others.
The group also exchanged strategies for fundraising, ideas for dances, increasing attendance at sporting events, and other common interests before adjourning. They were interested in inviting more students to meet and agreed that a district-wide event to bring the junior high schools together would be beneficial.
Dr. Bresnahan encouraged the representatives to stay in touch with each other to continue the conversations that began at the meeting. The students took the recommendation to heart.
“They continued to talk amongst each other on the bus ride back to school, rather than just talking to the group from their home school,” said Peggy Osterman, a teacher at Friendship Junior High and student council sponsor. “They all seemed to be very vested in what each school had to say. Several of the four students from our school have already asked when the next luncheon will be.”
The group will be invited back for an additional meeting before the school year ends.
“We want to still be having fun,” Dr. Bresnahan told attendees before they left. “We always want to know what you are passionate about inside the classroom as well as outside so we can make school an enjoyable place to be.”