Students from three local community day schools participated
Dec. 5 in a panel discussion intended to help school board members and
administrators understand how to better serve students.
The hour-long discussion was part of the California School Boards Association Annual Education Conference at the San Diego Convention
The students talked about how they know teachers care about
them, whether they feel engaged in the classroom, their goals and dreams, and
ways that educators could improve schools.
Felipe Flores, a student at McPhatter Community School, said
he only feels that a teacher cares about him when the teacher shows the same
care and respect for all of the students.
“It’s not only about one student,” he said at the discussion.
“It’s about the whole classroom, I believe.”
Encouragement, one-on-one care, a comfortable learning
environment, and teacher stability also go a long way, the students agreed.
The dozens of education officials in the audience listened
intently as the teenagers spoke.
“This is exactly the kind of conversation that boards need
to be hearing” as they put together their spending plans, said Teri Burns,
senior policy director for the California School Boards Association. “I fully suspect
that everybody in here will go back and do student panels, because they got so
much out of this.”
It’s important to listen to what students have to say,
because they’re the ones using the educational programs, she added.
Three of the students attend McPhatter Community School and
two attend North County Tech Academy. Both are part of the San Diego County
Office of Education’s Juvenile Court and Community Schools. Another three
students spoke from Escondido Community Day School, which is operated by the
Escondido Union High School District.
All of the students said they hope to graduate from high
school and continue on to college.
The session was moderated by Dan Sackheim, educational
options consultant with the California Department of Education.
Sackhein said he thought the students’ words would have a
profound impact on students across California.
“There are kids all over the state that you’re never going
to meet who are going to have their lives changed by what you’ve said today,”