'Student Voice' takes next step
'Student Voice' takes next step
Ken McLemore, Hope Public Schools
Tuesday, October 23, 2018

HOPE – Teams from the campuses of the Hope Public School District engaged some imagination to recognize similarities across age levels and to develop concepts of campus images in the second meeting of the “Student Voice” district committee.

Hope Superintendent Dr. Bobby Hart facilitated the session at the Hope High School MAC Center with a series of questions to the students and comparative discussions. The exercises were designed to demonstrate strengths and challenges from a personal perspective that helped the students discuss campus life.

Widely ranging responses were given to the question, “What kind of magical power would you like to have?” Among the most diverse responses were “all knowledge” and “ice powers,” particularly the power to freeze someone in place who was “doing bad things.”

Hart asked for reasoning about choosing a new name if the students were given the opportunity, and simplicity and ease of pronunciation were clear winners.

Family members were key answers regarding a personal hero.

Hart said the exercise helped students understand how they can work together to effect improvements in life, which led to a discussion about key attributes of each campus.

“Even the smallest student’s voice matters,” Hope High School representative Roger Hall said.

Consensus descriptions included “challenging” for Clinton Primary School and Hope High School; “busy, active” for Yerger Middle School; “fun” at Beryl Henry Elementary School; “intelligent” at Hope Academy of Public Service; and, “success oriented” at the Hope Collegiate and Professions Academy.

Other factors across the spectrum included “drama free,” “technology advanced,” “hard,” “friendly,” “creative,” “interactive,” “hands on,” “good communication,” “stressful,” and “difficult.”

That fostered discussion of conceptual changes and the question: “What do you want your school to look like and be?”

Answers ranged from “one big building” and “inside football field” to “feel like home” and “a place to get away (problem free)”, as well as points about the generational student complaint: the cafeteria.

“I enjoyed talking about our school,” Clinton Primary representative Riley B. said.

Clinton Primary representative Cayden B. emphasized the point from the lunch meal provided to the committee.

“They had good food,” Cayden said.

Comments on campus food service ranged from “mini corn dogs – back on the menu” to “commercial food vendor (McDonald’s, Subway)” and “bigger portions at HHS” to the length of time for lunch and lunch lines that are too long.

“It was fun because we talked about different things,” Yerger representative Dasia Ricks said. “We were able to experience a different view of our school.”

Instructional positives and negatives were also part of the discussion. Comparisons on instruction ranged from “engaging/fun” v. “no transition time” to “required reading” v. “teachers expect us to get what they learn,” and “some don’t move forward until all understand or gets it” v. “too fast.”

“Mr. Hart had us think a lot,” Dasia said. “It was fun, and I am looking forward to more meetings.”

The group will meet again in December.