Listening to Students Stories from the Youth Advisory Team

Every month, there's one meeting on my calendar that I particularly look forward to. I know I will end up laughing, seeing something in a new way and feeling a surge of pride in our students. That's because every month, I get to meet with the Superintendent's Student Advisory Team, a group of dynamic middle and high school students.

This is the first year for the team and it's something I hope to continue. Regular, in-depth conversations with our students is a great way for me to connect with students and pick their brains. These students come from a variety of backgrounds - the one thing they have in common is a desire to be engaged and connected.

Darian, the team's president, is a great leader for the group who is always bragging about how great La Pine High School is. Katy from Cascade is one of the most exuberant students I've ever met - she is just bursting with ideas and energy. There's Dylan, from Three Rivers, who always comes in drinking something from Dutch Bros., and has strong, thoughtful opinions. Izzy from Bend High is an athlete with a direct, confident manner that always impresses me. Fransisco from Mountain View never jumps into the conversation - he takes his time and comes up with thoughtful responses to whatever we are discussing. I could go on and on -- I am proud to know each of these students.

The student perspective is valuable to me and is something I take to heart. As part of planning for the new large high school in southeast Bend, we asked the team to design their ideal high school layout. Their ideas and input echoed some work from our design team - but students also came up with reasoning and thinking that was fresh and new.

Student Advisory Team members design their ideal high school layout - arranging classrooms, offices, the gym and more. The architects will use their input alongside others in plans for the new large high school in southeast Bend.

We've also talked about school culture, social media and so much more. This week, we talked to the team about school start times. As I'm sure you can imagine, they had a lot to say about this topic!

We are also taking time to listen to what's important to them and what they are most proud of in their schools - we've heard about baking cookies at La Pine High, blood drives at Bend Senior High School, counseling at Pacific Crest and more.

If you see these students in your school, please take time to thank them for their service to our district.

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