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Young voices heard on challenges, solutions

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Photo by Emy Lynn Roque Cisneros Over 30 students participated in the student conversation meetings held at Cedaredge High School on Thursday, Feb. 1. Grades 8-12 were represented. Several students recorded video of the sessions and answers to compile int

Cedaredge Middle and High School students feel heard. They love Bruin Time, an hour long seminar once a week for high schoolers covering various life topics, and the new business classes. However, they think their schools need several repairs and lack certain security measures for adequate safety.

"I think overall the school has prepared us to be good and working persons," said CHS senior Azalee Hoffbauer, referring to the staff's support and teachings. "I'm reminded of something Principal Randy Brown told me, 'To have respect is to give it.'"

These thoughts are some among many shared by the students in a 90-minute long student conversation meeting hosted by the Delta County School District on February 1. The goal of the meeting was to gain input on what's working and not working with the schools and community.

This year the Student Advisory Committee, made up of high school students across the county, led out in the session.

During the meetings students were divided into four group stations. While in groups they had 10 minutes to discuss two questions after an ice breaker -- one positive and another solution-based.

Their answers were compiled answers onto sticky notes for the share out.

Friends, sports, school trips and state conventions were highlights for students when asked about favorite memories or why they're excited to come to school.

Relationship building was also a focus for several questions. Encouraging fellow students to speak up and suggesting that faculty don't immediately inflict punishments for challenges, but instead listen more, were two of several ideas presented. Mentoring, 1-on-1 sessions and counseling with students were also discussed as solutions to help students feel more valued.

When it comes to learning, many students expressed learning best with more interactive and hands-on approaches. One student suggested to first cover the practical and theoretical knowledge and then follow it with more fun activities to solidify the concepts.

Students also said that they're proud of how well they get along but also agreed about needing to work on being more inclusive, and that they should listen and respect teachers more.

Suggestions for changes to the school and community included adding a sidewalk between the middle and high school, wanting another fast food chain, hosting more community gathering events, creating a way to remember past students, such as with artwork, and developing better initiatives to reach students who are non-motivated.

School District Superintendent Caryn Gibson agreed with the students on several points, saying that the district is looking at ways to increase security measures such as with locks and cameras. One student suggested bubbling out the front office in the high school to better monitor the front doors.

Based on the discussions and answers the high school students seemed to voice their opinions the most and the general focus on the conversations were on the high school and community. The main concern middle school students voiced was over not being prepared adequately for the transition to high school.

"We want to acknowledge that we know you're listening and taking action," said CHS senior Mason Dykstra during the final share out. "We thank you because these changes are helping."

Photo by Emy Lynn Roque Cisneros School board president Pete Blair sits in on one of the discussion groups as Cedaredge students offer input on what’s working and not working with the schools and the community.
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Cedaredge, CHS, CMS
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