Thought Bubble | Student panel an opportunity to share small-school perspective

Last week I attended a student-lead panel discussing student issues on a variety of topics. This panel was for the Safe and Supportive Schools Conference in Manhattan.

This panel aimed to give teachers, principals, superintendents and SROs an idea of what students think and experience in high school. Students were given a list of questions beforehand so we could figure out what we wanted to say. 

The questions were very general. For instance, they asked “What is one thing you really enjoy about school?” But others were more specific and gave my group some trouble. For example, “If you could make one rule that everyone in the world would have to follow, what would it be?” 

I was on this panel with four other members, a student from a 3A school, a 4A school, a 5A school, and a 6A school. Being the smallest one there put some pressure on me, but I was happy to represent smaller communities. 

There were around 100 or so in attendance, including USD 329 administrators. Most of the people there were writing down what we were saying which boosted my ego. The whole panel lasted about an hour. 

I had my answers prepared beforehand but after hearing what other schools had to say I had decided to add bits and pieces to what I wanted to say. Most of the other schools had good ideas that I hadn’t thought of. They gave me a new perspective on some of the aspects of school I had never thought about. 

The subject I had spent the most time discussing was allowing phones in schools and helping high school students making decisions for college. 

I believe that phones should be allowed in school since whatever a child can do on their cell phone they are equally capable of doing on their laptop or computer. This technology is important for students since it’s going to be a big part of the next few centuries. Learning how to use this technology is important for students so they can use it responsibly. 

For college education, I advocated for counselors to speak to each student individually about college and help with financial decisions. I also advised schools to separate counselors that take care of the mental health of students from counselors who help with college and student loans. I made it clear that teenagers should not be making financial decisions that will impact the rest of their lives. 

Speaking on these subjects was very important for me because I am passionate about helping our education system. 

I am very thankful for this opportunity and I appreciate all those who were involved in this process. And I have to give a special thank you to John Calvert and Jim Green who orchestrated the entire panel. 

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