Student forum allows thoughts to be put on the table
CARBONDALE ” One group is having a conversation about what makes a great teacher. Another is offering viewpoints on the standards grading system. Another is talking about segregation in local high schools, and whether students feel respected by their teachers.
A student forum hosted by the Roaring Fork School District Board of Education Wednesday at Roaring Fork High School in Carbondale brought student voices to the forefront on a variety of school-related topics.
The project is part of an ongoing effort by the school board and district administrators to gather feedback from as many groups of people the district serves as possible.
“We talk a lot about doing what’s best for kids, but we really don’t know at the board table until we talk to you, the kids,” school board member Bob Johnson said. “Our number one goal is what’s best for you.”
Each of the five school board members took notes as separate groups of three or four students offered their thoughts.
Glenwood High School student Matt Snyder said the standards-based grading system that Roaring Fork, like many other school districts, has moved to in recent years seems to be inconsistent.
“Every teacher seems to do it differently, so there’s doesn’t seem to be a lot of consistency,” he said.
Nicole Booth, a student at Basalt High School, said the standards system may not fully prepare high school students for college, where the traditional bell curve and letter-grade system is still used.
“I would prefer to have a high school that pushes me a little more,” she said. “Sometimes the honors class work is just extra work, not really advanced work.”
Roaring Fork student Maria Flores observed that some students take advantage of the standards system, because they know they will get a second chance if they don’t get something right the first time.
Glenwood High student Hayley Dixon said she sometimes feels like the Anglo and Latino students in her school are too segregated.
“We see each other in the halls and stuff, but we’re not in the same classes,” she said. “It’s hard to get to know some of the other students. I think that creates tension. I’d rather see more integration in the classroom.”
One group of students said that, despite efforts to integrate students in the schools, there is a lot of “self-segregating” between different groups of students, and that cliques are a problem.
Overall, students say they like their teachers. One question to the students was what constitutes a “great teacher.” They responded that teachers who are “knowledgeable” and “available” are usually the best teachers.
Student comments from the forum will be compiled and shared with school principals and staff.
“I think this has been a good experience, and I hope we could do it more often,” school board member Bill Lamont said.
Contact John Stroud: 384-9160
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