Students take floor first at Wallace Educational Forum

Published 12:02 am Tuesday, March 15, 2016

By Margaret Smith

SALISBURY — On Monday, four groups of high school students, hand-picked by Rowan-Salisbury School System Superintendent Dr. Lynn Moody, led the first meeting at the Wallace Educational Forum

These students, known as the District Student Leadership Team, have been handed the power to implement changes to improve schools, and they talked about that at the meeting.

Following an introduction from Ben Zino, the first group encouraged the use of collaborative spaces. These shared spaces encourage working together, increasing mental and social abilities while focusing on communication, visualization and acknowledgement. Tene’ Jordan said it is “important for kids to talk to each other outside of social media.”

The next presentation focused on cultural experiences. The group stated that children need to learn about the world and communicate with other students in different countries. After relaying the small percentage of Americans that interact with the international world, they focused on the steps the school system could take to increase cultural awareness, such as providing cultural meals and making opportunities to travel more available to students.

The third group focused on independent learning time, an hour during the school day to get tutoring, go to club meetings or do schoolwork. The installment of independent learning time at West Rowan has caused both the selection of clubs and the students able to join these clubs at the school to grow. Taylor Wilson said independent learning time “is beneficial to the students in many different aspects; it provides additional time needed with teachers that usually has to be provided outside school hours.”

The final group focused on career clusters and mini courses. In their presentation, they suggested making classes more student-driven, leaving more room for career exploration. Starting in middle school, students should be exposed to many career options and given time once a week to research what career they wish to pursue. India Witherspoon closed the meeting.

The students had positive things to say about their experience. Brittany McGee said the collaboration of students from different schools is helping to improve the school system, while fellow team member Addison Fry appreciates “how Dr. Moody was listening to students and taking our thoughts into consideration.”

Margaret Smith is a West Rowan High School student and Salisbury Post intern.