News Category: Government
The school system is designed to include the voices of parents, teachers, district members, administrative officials involved in the decision-making process, but fails to represent the target of the system itself: students. Students play an essential role and have the ability to offer meaningful feedback to bring about a positive change in their education and the community. In a few committees and leadership classes where students are represented, their voice are often misunderstood or even disregarded.
To combat this problem and bring an authentic form of student voice into the school district, the Student Inter-Schools Action Council was created. This council consists of representatives from all of the middle and high schools in the district: Harvest Park Middle School, Hart Middle School, Pleasanton Middle School, Amador Valley High School, Foothill High School, and Village High School.
SIAC members provide input about issues on campus, are involved in governance and the decision-making process, provide a way to propose and implement student-driven initiatives, and work towards increasing individuals’ sense of belonging. All actions are directed towards the improvement of the experience of the educational system for everyone involved.
Students are organized into smaller committees. These include the Common Core Implementation Team that helps teachers understand the new standards, the Positive Behavioral Intervention & Support Team that works to find alternative interventions for people with discipline problems, the Systems Thinking Core Team, and the Local Control and Accountability Committee. In the past, SIAC has worked on promoting and rallying the community to support Measure I1. This measure was eventually passed due to the efforts of SIAC and authorized the Pleasanton school district to issue and sell bonds of up to $270 million to fund specific school facilities projects. They have also advocated mental health issues and helped create the PUSD Technology Plan which details how technology will be implemented into the curriculum.
There are numerous advantages of including SIAC in this process and enabling students to implement change. Not only are they able to develop their interpersonal and professional skills, they are also able to contribute to their own education in a meaningful way. Students are an invaluable part of the of the system as they are capable of providing administrators insightful advice about student-teacher connections, practices, policies, curriculum, and instruction from their unique perspective. This process empowers kids and ensures that their voices are heard. With each additional SIAC initiative, PUSD increasingly becomes a school district of the students, by the students, for the students.