Academic committee formed

At the beginning of the school year, the Student Council (StuCo) introduced a new academic committee within the Council. “I think it’s important that students have an input into their learning process,” Assistant Principal Karen Bonthrone said. 

Guided by this belief, she established the Committee. It will focus on improving High School academic life through the implementation of student suggestion and feedback.

At the start of the school year, Bonthrone approached StuCo President Celia Mitchell (’15) and Vice President Dariush Yazdanpanah (’15) regarding the Committee. They decided Yazdanpanah would take on a leadership role within the committee, after he expressed interest in developing what he called “the more serious side of [StuCo].”

StuCo representatives from each grade will voice the opinions of their peers, and Bonthrone will also share her views on academic improvements. The Committee members, Zack Ashley (’15), Isobel Sheil (’16), Jack Neblett (’16), Jordi Albanell (’17), Ayse Yucesan (’18), as well as Yazdanpanah, will regularly meet with Bonthrone to discuss areas in which they would like to see change in academic aspects of the High School.

Last year, there was a StuCo initiative which encouraged teachers to post student’s grades on Haiku. Yazdanpanah hopes to push ahead with this initiative. “[I want] to build off what I pushed for last year, which was the online grading,” he said. Through this Committee, they will evaluate how the online grading approach is working and how to further develop the system.

Bonthrone also believes that this Committee will help provide a more structured approach, compared to previous years, toward having more student input on change.

Bonthrone supports the idea that all voices of the school need to be heard when it comes to making improvements.“There’s always been dialogue between students, teachers and admin. We’re making it just a little more formal,” she said.

Albanell, however, supports greater uniformity between teachers. “I want to change how the teachers work together. For example, it’s not fair for some English classes to write an essay [at a certain time], when the others don’t have to,” he said. He planned to voice this opinion, and similar ones, t0 the Council prior to hearing about the Academic Committee. Upon learning of this new committee, he was eager to join.

Albanell also raised the importance of having short breaks during class to make the 80-minute periods more manageable and bringing exam uniformity into retake policies. He plans to present these opinions to Bonthrone and the rest of the Committee.

Yucesan also expressed a consensus from students in the Grade 9 that there is a need for change in department uniformity. Numerous students have conveyed to her a side of unfairness in differing workloads from teacher to teacher.

Bonthrone feels that hearing ideas from teachers, administrators, and students alike is the best way to not only make improvements in the school, but potentially develop new projects.

“I’m hoping, moving down the line, that there may be some places where students can actually have some input in how the school changes,” Bonthrone said.

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