Staff Editorial: Districts’ attempts at collecting feedback limited


Abby Prestholdt

The St. Louis Park youth panel meet recently to discuss the school start and end times, they met Jan.16. The group has been meeting regularly and have come up with a tentative new start time schedule.

Recently, St. Louis Park superintendent Astein Osei met with the Student Leadership Advisory Council to discuss possible changes to the start and end times of the schools in the district. During the meeting Jan. 16, the district was able to collect student recommendations.

The Echo Editorial Board commends the superintendent’s attempts at acknowledging the community’s various perspectives. Many factors go into a revising start and end times, such as after-school activities, childcare and bus schedules. The district’s efforts to consider all impacts of a change to such a fundamental aspect of the school is excellent.

However, we believe this survey is limited. The only student body that has been given a voice is the Student Leadership Advisory Council (SLAC), which is mostly comprised of students who joined before attending the high school. This restricts who can voice their opinions to students who have been a part of the district since before they were in high school, excluding all transfer students.

Additionally, the students on SLAC should be publicized and presented as a body that community members can exchange ideas with. This would allow more inclusion of the diverse challenges students and families faces with start and end times. Similarly, these discussions should be advertised better, and they should open up to the whole community, not just one council.

We also think there should be an electronic alternative for those who are not able to attend these meetings or others on the topic, including the discussion March 4. This could mean a link on the district’s website, or a poll given in class similar to the method used for the Student Engagement Survey.

The Editorial Board asks the district to change to their system of collecting feedback from a limited group, such as SLAC, to a more accessible electronic alternative that would allow for all student and community voices to be heard. This would enable a more comprehensive assessment of start and end times. We also urge students to work to have their thoughts considered on these matters that affect the community greatly because each students’ experience is valuable and worth taking into consideration.