"What do you think
?" we ask students on my Superintendent Student Advisory Committees.
Committee members, grades 6 through 12, tell us what they think,
candidly and respectfully. Examples of questions we have posed the past
couple of years include:
How do you make decisions on which classes to take
? What more would be helpful
What gets in the way of recycling
? What could we do to get all students to recycle
Who do you talk to when you face a difficult problem or concern
Principals and district level administrators join me, listening to
conversations, and occasionally asking questions for clarification.
Mostly the discussion flows from student to student. They take turns
Deciding on which classes to take
We learned that parents and counselors play a role but were surprised
to discover that the "go-to" source of wisdom is older
students--including brothers and sisters and team captains. We are
working on ways to capitalize on this level of trust.
? Students advised a redesign of the cafeteria
recycling areas to make signage more visible and improve traffic flow.
Then, a high school student prepared a video and trained students to
present to school advisories. Compliance is now near 100%.
Who do you talk to when you have a problem
? For the majority of
students, the first step is to a teacher--or other staff member--with
whom they have a relationship. Said one: "Our teachers are some of the smartest people we know
And obviously trusted. In response, we have provided training to all
staff to better prepare them for the times that students "choose" them
This week we met with my advisory committees for the last time this
year. On the agenda was time for our school board representatives to get
feedback on a presentation, which they will make available to our
School Board next week. As always, students had insights and experiences
We left the meeting knowing that it is always a good idea to listen to students.
Michael J. Lovett, Ph.D
Superintendent, White Bear Lake Area Schools