ROANOKE COUNTY, Va. – Students at Glenvar High School are getting the chance to shape the future of their school and they way they learn.
It's all part of a new Highlander Council program at the school. The council is made up of students from all grade levels and background who are working to figure out what their fellow classmates like about school, what they don't like, and what changes can be made to make things better.
The student-led effort is still in the early phases. When complete, students and teachers are hoping to see positive changes that will have kids excited for each new school day.
"The ultimate goal is to implement strategies that will get kids more engaged in school, make them want to be here," says Principal James Soltis. "From classroom strategies to events, it's everything we can do to make this a better place for kids. Let's face it, kids are our customers and we want to make this a place where the kids really want to be."
The Highlander Council is based on a district-wide program, the Student Advisory Council. The Student Advisory Council is made up of two students from each school in Roanoke County, they meet with each other and school board members to discuss issues and ongoing projects.
Glenvar students will initiate a school-wide survey that focuses on what's most important to students in the classroom and the changes they'd like to see.
"We try to get the response from the people that do enjoy things," says Van Hofmann, a senior and member of the Highlander Council. "What do they like? From the people that don't like school, what are they things they don't like? We want to synthesize those things and find a middle."
"A lot of the questions are worded in a way that really makes you think about your opinions on school," says Tyler Gardner, a senior and member of the Highlander Council. "Even some of the questions are worded in a way that brought up things I didn't realize I liked about school and some things I didn't realize I didn't very much like about school. That's the goal here, to make students think about what they would like to see different and what's being done well."
Once complete, the survey will be given out school-wide. Students will take those answers to the classroom to analyze the responses as part of a statistics lesson.
They'll take what they find and work with the school administration to make noticeable changes, addressing the issues to make life at school more enjoyable for all students.