By Vivian Kringle
Access Thursday September 5th was the school’s first student forum of the 2019-2020 school year. Due to the small turnout of students last year, the school developed a new format for their meetings. The forums will now be co-led with the school’s leadership team for additional student input. A student from each access class was asked to come with a list of issues from other students in that class to bring up at the forum.
BHS Principal Brianna Kleinschmidt explains that she wants the student forums to be a place for students to ask questions and used as “a place for people to have their voice”.
She opened the floor to the students to bring up issues that they have experienced so far this year. Students suggested better vegan and vegetarian food options in school lunches, to which Principal Kleinschmidt announced the addition of a new ramen bar coming this year and offered to create a list of vegetarian and vegan foods from the students to show to the kitchen staff and possibly implement some into the menu.
A few students inevitably brought up the slow wifi asking if the school is working on improving the devices. Principal Kleinschmidt listened and wrote notes; while responding to the issue, she stated that the school just got approved for more funding to improve devices they are adding into the school this year.
Principal Kleinschmidt brought up a main topic of the forum: “How we use Access period and getting academic help.” Almost every student responded that they loved Access period, although it has some aspects that could be improved. Some students felt that people took advantage of Access, using certain teachers as a hangout, hindering the opportunity for some to ask for help. Others suggested using Access as a time for Math and English labs, instead of holding them after school.
The topic of Access segued into school announcements. Many classes during Access are too loud to hear the announcements. Announcements are posted weekly on Panther TV, but many students brought up the issue that their teachers don’t show it to the class. With the loss of the announcements, you lose important information, such as spirit days, improv shows, and other important events. This raised the question of how we can get information to every student. Some suggested putting the announcements at different times of the day, whether it meant the end or middle of Access, 1st period, or the end of the day. Students suggested emailing announcements along with writing important events on white boards and posting it on Instagram and other social media platforms.
Principal Kleinschmidt says “if you have a concern, come in with a solution”. The forum acted as a place for students to have a say in how their school environment can be improved. They got to raise issues that the staff wouldn’t have been able to spot, such as bathroom conditions, the hopes of adding toilet seat covers in girl bathrooms, cleaning the filters on drinking fountains, available times to step out during class, and adding options for school lunches. Each student had a place to feel like their voice was heard and that they had the ability to make a change in their school.