Student Association voices student concerns to the Board

Student Association voices student concerns to the Board

The members of the Student Associate Executive Board presented student opinions on recent cuts to the school board.

Robby Filec, Staff Reporter

Many changes at RB have occurred this year and will occur next year.  The idea of losing classes, activities, and the other cuts are becoming the reality at RB.

The Student Association Executive Board is the liaison between the student body and the Board of Education and the Administration. The SA Executive Board wanted to give the students a chance to be heard, because they don’t have the opportunity to talk directly to Board of Education or the Administration.

“We wanted to find out the feelings of the students,” said Executive Board Vice President Emily Filec.

SA randomly selected a variety of classes and asked students two questions:  what have you enjoyed so far this school year and what concerns do you have for the next school year?

The responses were presented at a school board meeting on January 24th. Every member on the SA Executive Board voiced the different concerns. They ranged from students wondering if there would be activities next year, if sports would still be offered, if any AP classes would be cut and  what had happened to the musical students were promised. They also spoke about how great the teachers were, even though the school was going through rough times. Students believed the teachers were keeping up with the great reputation RB has made for itself.

Principal Pam Bylsma said, “I was touched by it and showed the answers to the teachers. I wanted the staff to hear them, and I wanted them to feel what I felt. It is a thank you and an acknowledgement to them.”

Filec responded positively in regards to how the meeting went.  She said, “I feel it was well received by the board. We, (the Executive Board,) planned the questions and discussed what kind of feedback we wanted from our peers.” Filec believes that the survey allowed SA to get a better grasp of the student bodies’ opinions and that it would “make their voices heard.”

In response to the presentation, Bylsma said, “I thought they did an excellent job.  They were articulate and pointed in their comments. They used their time well and were organized in their thoughts. They took their time in what they talked about. It was very professionally done.”

The idea of showing SA’s commitment to informing the school board on the thoughts of the student body was not lost on Bylsma.

She said, “I think it was an excellent idea. Their job is to be the voice of the student body. They found out what the students were thinking and feeling and shared it with the decision makers. It would be wonderful if students went to the board meeting to remind them that the more they cut, the more it hurts, and they should cut as little as possible to minimize the impact on the students.”

Bylsma also appreciated the effort and determination the SA executive board put into their education and the future of their school.

She said, “The Executive Board received thank yous from the Board. I would characterize the students’ answers to S.A’s questions as very mature and sincere. It came across as a group of students who value their education. They understand how connected their success is to the quality of their teachers. They get what makes RB successful and are afraid to lose it.”

Bylsma was less sure about whether SA’s presentation would influence the board in its decision making on cuts.  “I don’t know if it will change a decision yet. I would have to listen and see. It is a little early, too early to know. I hope it has an impact on their decisions,” she said.

Byslma also said she echoed many of the feelings of the students.  “[I feel] a lot of the same things the kids are thankful for. I work with an incredible group of professionals. They know what their job is and nothing will get in their way. I’m thankful for resilient students, who will still help even though they suffer disappointments. They have a spirit of perseverance. I’m concerned about everything everyone else is. Loss of opportunities for those who can’t get a second chance. We still want everybody to reach their potential. How much can we take away before they can stop the potential? I’m concerned about losing good staff members who will lose all or part of their jobs,” she said.