The Student School Improvement Team was formed five years ago. We would meet once a month
and discuss student concerns. Some of the students would then report back to the School Improvement Team. Two years ago we began meeting twice a month. At the end of last school year I asked my Principal if the student SIT team could play a more active role in the school and she agreed. I went to our school social worker and I asked her if the student SIT could be attached to the school climate committee and she was very enthusiastic. She and I laid out a tentative plan for the new school year. My principal spoke with me over the summer and it was decided that student SIT kids would be in my advisory/homeroom so I have both 7th and 8th graders. My principal and I decided that it would be best if I didn't have students until the second week of September. The first day of school I met with all the team leaders. I laid out the plan for the student SIT committee. The 7th grade team leaders were told that they would be going back to their teams and choosing the SIT students. This was because they knew the incoming 8th graders better having had them the year before, and they hopefully know which new 7th graders to pick after three weeks of school. The teams chose 19 students and my advisory was successfully up and running by the third week of September.
Criteria on How Students are chosen:
We try to choose students who show leadership qualities but who are not normally the ones that are picked by other students. They have to have an A/ B average and be a good student. They should have a very low absenteeism rate and be on time for school. The teachers should choose students who will be good role models for the other students. Another important factor is that the team should be made up of students that represent the diverse population all the students in our school.
My Student School Improvement Team:
This year's school improvement team is made up of 19 students, 10 eighth graders and 9 seventh.
There are 8 boys and 11 girls. Most of the students on the team are Hispanic along with 1 Haitian student, 1 Jamaican student and 5 white students. We also have students on the team who have IEP's and are in inclusion classes. The 7th graders will be on the team for two years.
How the School Improvement team is run:
We have advisory Monday,Wednesday,and Friday first period of the day. We try to have a whole group meeting on Monday. Most of the time this is student run. Wednesdays are for the subcommittees to meet. At this time committee chairs and co-chairs meet with the principal if needed. Most Fridays the students are helping the school social worker with school improvement activities for the whole school. In addition to this three students come before school every other month to attend the SIT committee meeting. The students decide who will be going and what they will be speaking about. I submit this to the SIT chair and they put it on the agenda.
Subcommittees: The students have formed three subcommittees that they feel is important to the school this year. They created a peer tutoring team to help tutor students in homework club after school. The team is made up of 25 students both 7th and 8th graders. There is also a peer mediation group. Another group is raising money for new auditorium chairs. They have found an organization that has schools recycle items for money. That is a win win for the fundraising as well as the environment.
Reflection: Although I was on board to have this advisory before this class began, I do believe that I am running it differently because of it. I have become more aware of how this advisory should be run. I have become more of a facilitator and an observer. I do much less talking and for the most part, I am not in charge. This was a bit unnerving at the beginning but now I am amazed at how well they do without me! I love to see how enthusiastic these kids have become. They are a great group of kids that kids that didn't have a place to show their skills as a leader. I think that now they have found that place and I hope that this experience gives them the confidence to do so in their future endeavors.