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    Incorporating Student Voice
    Posted on 12/18/2019
    A couple members of the SAB stand in a circle to listen to one another.

    Incorporating Student Voice

    As part of the district’s commitment to inclusive and authentic engagement, Superintendent Juneau formed the Student Advisory Board last year to provide student perspective on district decisions and to advocate for student interests.

    In December, student representatives from each district high school met to review group norms and provide feedback on key district initiatives. Seattle Public Schools Director of Racial Equity Advancement Manal Al-ansi presented a proposed draft of the district’s anti-racism policy and led students through a discussion to hear their thoughts and input.

    Manal talks with the students in the meeting in front of a white boardMany of the students asked for a clear timeline for implementation of the policy, measurable goals, and questioned how it would be enforced. Students hoped to be involved more in the creation and implementation of a plan once the policy is improved.

    “It’s information and interactions that we don’t get a lot as students,” Ballard High School Senior Aneesa Roidad said of the opportunity to hear from district experts and review policy. “I'd like to see more of that, like Manal coming to talk to us and us being able to have a dialogue and create a plan of action with her."

    Students were excited to bring the policy back to their schools and organizations. Aneesa and Rainier Beach Junior Angelina Riley planned to bring the policy to the NAACP Youth Council and Sophomore Katie Bishop hoped to get more input from peers at The Center School whose opinions may not be represented on the Student Advisory Board.

    This is the second year that the Student Advisory Board has met and they’ve already made an impact on district policy. Last year, students provided feedback on the student dress code to help eliminate unnecessary, subjective views of appropriate school attire and support school staff in focusing their time and efforts on educating students. Their work resulted in the first districtwide student dress policy. Read more about the student dress policy.

    “The items that we did get to work on, it felt very good to see them implemented,” Katie said of seeing the new dress code policy in her student handbook. “It was really cool to see that.”

    West Seattle High School Sophomore Sabrina Slye stressed the importance of working with other students and Superintendent Juneau on initiatives like the dress code, the anti-racism policy, and other district initiatives.

    "To be able to tell [Superintendent Juneau] what us, as students, see and feel is really important because we're the ones who are in the schools experiencing things," Sabrina said.

    Sabrina and other students ended the meeting by asking Superintendent Juneau if they could be even more involved in decision-making as changes are happening and wanted to see their work implemented more quickly and efficiently.

    “We had an idea of what we wanted to do last year, but it wasn't implemented as much as many of us wanted to,” Sabrina said. “So, hopefully this year there is more action taken."

    As the work of the board continues, Superintendent Juneau and the district will look to find more ways to incorporate student voice into district decisions.

    Read more about the strategic plan priority for inclusive and authentic engagement

    Learn more about the Student Advisory Board.