At ASL, both the administration and student leadership groups are going to come under scrutiny and, following that scrutiny, criticism. Some of this criticism is valid, however, the majority of it simply comes from frustration and being uneducated about the organization.
The best way to avoid this issue is a greater level of transparency. Student groups and the administration are not secretive organizations, their aim is to improve our high school experience. In order to help that they should update the student body continuously on what their agenda is. In turn, this will allow students to provide opinions on this agenda.
I’ll start off by saying that The Standard is certainly not an exemption to this criticism. As a staff it is imperative that we try to increase transparency and continue to try to incorporate people into our process. We do this by finding voices from across the school and diversifying the voices and ideas that are being expressed. There is always room for improvement in this regard. Personally, the Opinions section could use more outside voices as well, and is always open to them.
The two other major student leader groups in the school, the Student-Faculty Disciplinary Board (SFDB) and the Student Council (StuCo) also have room for improvement.
From my short time as a senior representative on StuCo I believe the main way we can improve is by making sure students are better informed of intiatives. StuCo needs to involve students more into our process. At its core, being a representative isn’t about coming up with ideas: It’s about implementing the wants and ideas of the student body. StuCo should implement some sort of public forum that would allow the compilation of the ideas of the student body and allow for debate regarding these ideas, as well as the initiatives we are working on, that should then be parlayed to the administration.
And while the SFDB has to keep some form of secrecy regarding people who break the Code of Conduct for those students protection, we should still be updated on what is going on. We should know more about the process and decision making when a case goes to the Board and the types of cases that are happening so we, as a student body, can identify where we need to improve. It would also allow us to better understand the expectations of the administration.
This brings me to transparency between the administration and the students. While the administration certainly voices its general concerns to the student body and involves itself in interactions with groups like The Standard, StuCo and SFDB, we need to be shared on more tangible initiatives they are working on.
In last issue’s editorial, the staff of The Standard asked the administration to more heavily involve its students in working towards a better community. I believe the best way to do this is an increased sense of transparency. Often times the administration implements new ideas out of the blue; this often catches students off guard and is where much of this criticism comes from. Examples of this include the sudden change of the award ceremony last year as well as the changes to the opening assembly and Alternatives this year.
When the administration is working on an initiative it needs to let the whole student body know, not just selective student leader groups. Let the entire student body comment on it and see if it’s worth pursuing. Additionally, let the student body express their own ideas on the initiative.
Some sort of Q&A session with the leaders of the High School administration should be held at least monthly. This would allow the administration to better communicate their wants to the students and vice versa.
In the end, both parties only want the best possible high school experience for all of us; increased transparency is only another step that will help us achieve that goal.