Student leadership doesn't end with the school day
Student leadership doesn't end with the school day
Posted on 11/19/2018
Student leadership doesn't end with the school day

Its 7 p.m. on a school day, and most of the students have gone home.

Bond Advisory CommitteeSeniors Ben Roscoe and Grace Williams are at Puyallup High School with administrators, parents, architects, engineers, and many more community members. They are discussing school security, science classrooms, and how educational specifications impact learning environment decisions. Plus a whole lot more.

It’s no secret — if you want to know what’s going on in the high school, ask a student. And that is exactly what’s happening on many different committees throughout the district. The students are asked tough questions. And they ask tough questions in return.

Roscoe, from Emerald Ridge, and Williams, from Rogers, serve on the Bond Advisory Committee commissioned by the Puyallup School Board in April 2018. The committee meets twice monthly to study educational specifications and identify critical facility needs to enhance education at Emerald Ridge, Puyallup, Rogers, and Walker high schools.

The priorities of the committee are to focus on safety and security, classroom space, and educational programs at the high school level. 

The school board is forward-thinking to prepare for more than 12,000 elementary students who will progress to junior high and high school in the coming years. The aging buildings were not built with today’s security concerns in mind.

For example, Rogers was built in 1968, with a remodel in 1997. It was designed with multiple entrances into the school. This makes it difficult to monitor visitors as they enter. 

Grace Willians

“My biggest concern at Rogers is that we have so many different buildings that aren’t connected. It’s an open campus. Yes, we have security, but there’s only so much they can do when someone comes on campus,” says Williams. She adds, campus security officers make her feel safe and they take time to get to know the students.

Student insight and high school perspective is crucial. Chief Operations Officer Mario Casello has collaborated with several high school student leaders on multiple district committees for the past two years. Casello says, “Our student leaders bring another perspective, another lens for us all to look through as we evaluate and assess our school facilities and programs. Their insight and input is valuable to the overall process. Grace and Ben are two examples of great student leaders that are making a positive difference in the Puyallup School District!”

“I’m looking to make a difference and an impact for future grades. A program that I would like see improved at Rogers is the science department set up. I believe it needs updates to create better lab opportunities and learning experiences,” says Williams.

In the spring of 2019 the BAC will report to the school board with a recommendation. It is likely they will ask the board to consider a bond measure for high school improvements.

Other committees
Students also participate on the Boundary Review Committee, which has been meeting for the last two years with a different focus from the BAC. The 36 members were commissioned by the school board to evaluate and recommend adjustments to school attendance areas at the elementary, junior high, and high school grade levels. The committee presented a report to the school board on September 30. The board voted unanimously to approve recommended changes in school attendance boundaries during its regular meeting on November 5, 2018.

The new attendance boundaries will go into effect beginning with the 2019-20 school year, with one exception. The proposed changes between Edgerton Elementary and Pope Elementary are recommended for implementation in the 2020-21 school year, simultaneous with the opening of the Pope Elementary Remodel and Expansion project.

“We appreciate their dedication and commitment to helping us make good decisions that will impact the district for several years to come. We have been so fortunate to have wonderful student representation on so many committees.  
Chief Operations Officer Mario Casello

Career and Technical Education
The Career and Technical Education General Advisory Board invites students to serve as board members each year. The board provides input into the evaluation and action plans for CTE programs. They evaluate current course offerings and the direction of the CTE program as a whole.

The CTE board is community focused and looks at skills gaps in our local community, strengths in current programs, and opportunities for community connections.  The student role is the same as anyone else, they bring their own perspectives and thoughts to the discussions.

Students representing students
Serving as ASB Presidents of their schools, Roscoe and Williams see themselves as representatives of the whole student body. As seniors, they want to ensure that future students continue to have the best educational experience possible, with challenging programs in state of the art classrooms, current technology, and safety and security plans that address today’s world.

A saxophone player who also enjoys cheering on Emerald Ridge sports teams, Roscoe says it’s important for students and the community to be involved in the committees.

“Education affects every aspect of our nation’s future. Even if you don’t have a child in the school district, everyone benefits from having a well-educated, critical thinking population. From future jobs, to competing in the increasingly globalized economy, everyone will benefit from a stronger education system. And, for our community, it increases the value of homes,” says Roscoe.