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The UnifiEd Student Voice Team's School Board Blog
Policy Board Meeting:
I [Carson] really enjoy Policy Board Meetings. They serve as a great look behind the scenes, in theatre terms, as to what it takes to run a school system from a legal perspective.
Most of the changes that were being made were being made to bring current policies up to date with new changes to state laws. That said, it seemed like a lot of policies were glazed over with the comment of “no suggested changes”. Since any suggestions would be made by those at central office, it seemed to me that these policies could be more effective if feedback was sought from teachers and administrators as they are the ones that deal with the implementation of many of these policies on a daily basis. One important policy that was brought up was the Suicide Prevention Policy. The only change made to this policy was the addition of some language surrounding the process of postvention. It seemed that this policy is still a bit lackluster. This policy has so much potential to help students by requiring preventative measures around awareness and resources for students, but it still needs work.
Throughout this section of the meeting school board members trickled in slowly, but by the time the meeting started all members and the new student representative were present at the meeting. One thing that I noticed during this section of the meeting was the lack of student artwork lining the walls of the school board meeting room. I know that the art was likely taken down in order to be returned to students before summer (as this is when it went down), but the room still looked so much sadder without all of the colorful kids artwork. I personally miss the artwork and hope that new artwork comes back soon. In my opinion, the artwork also serves as a good reminder of why the school board is doing the work that they are doing, for the students of Hamilton County.
School Board Meeting:
Throughout this meeting a lot happened:
During the Future Ready 2023 Update Presentation the results from state testing were discussed. The results were absolutely phenomenal. Simply put we have made tremendous progress from where we were a year ago and it is truly encouraging for what can come even farther in the future. During this presentation there was a fabulous explanation of what the scores mean and just how much we have improved. If you click here you can watch the meeting from the beginning of this discussion about achievement vs. growth. The key part of this video is the racetrack explanation; however, the next 25 or so minutes are also really great and go into much more detail about our results if you have the time. Overall, our school system is heading great places and I’m proud to say that I am a product of Hamilton County Schools.
We almost made it throughout a school board meeting without a major fight. It was kind of refreshing to see Ms. Rhonda Thurman and Ms. Karitsa Jones fighting again though, as I had missed their fights while Ms. Jones was off with her new baby. Karitsa and Rhonda began fighting after the widely publicized implicit bias training was brought up. Rhonda wanted to introduce a policy in the future to monitor and look over presentations from outside presenters, but then Karitsa and Rhonda went back and forth with a few comments fueling each other to get angrier and angrier. The ways in which this specific training was conducted may not have been best; however, we cannot let them be a detriment to the overall value of other training in implicit bias.
Overall, this meeting was inspiring for the progress of HCDE towards its goals, albeit rather long with some technical aspects that would be plain boring to the average person.