City-wide Student Senate Presents End-of-year Proposal to Superintendent

City-wide Student Senate Presents End-of-year Proposal to Superintendent

On May 17, 2017, the 2016-2017 City-wide Student Senate met to welcome new senators, say goodbye to graduating senators, and to present their end-of-year proposal for recommendations for the 2017-2018 school year to Superintendent Dr. Leslie Torres-Rodriguez. (In photo of meeting above, Milly Arciniegas of Hartford Parent University, center, addresses the Senators.)

You may watch the video, courtesy of Hartford Public Access Television, of the presentation and ensuing discussion by clicking here.

Please read the proposal, below:

Student Senate Proposal 2017-18

Introduction

The Hartford Citywide Student Senate formally proposes this document on behalf of roughly 20,000 Students in the Hartford Public School System. Our mission over the 10+ years we’ve existed  has been to offer a voice to students of all Racial, Social, and Economic backgrounds. We strongly believe that student voice through our work is equal to the eyes and ears of the Hartford Public School District. We are critical partners in the decision-making processes of the Board of Education and Hartford Public School District. Our motto adheres to these core principles of: Respect, Intellectuality, Debate and Integrity. Our Senate operates with a strong reverence for these principles, and we are proud to be the lead organization tasked with handling the utmost relevant and critical decisions to be made on behalf of our fellow peers, for today, for tomorrow, and for the future.

Our 2017 Student Senate Proposal consists of topics that have been subject to debate for the last 3-4 years. These topics include Student Safety and Staff Awareness, SAT Preparation, School Counselors and Social Workers, School Resources, and Consolidation.

 

Body

           1)     Collective Partnerships

  1. Achieve Hartford
  1. Co-share event times and dates/ distribute information in schools.
  2.  Compass Peacebuilders
  3. Provide students the opportunity to become Peacebuilders and work together on community building and action.
  4.  Grow Hartford

iii. Quarterly presentations from Grow Hartford, including events, planning, and progress.

Iv. Shared recruitment, i.e. New senators and existing senators will be introduced to the Grow Hartford staff and have the opportunity to earn stipends in exchange for hours committed to program.

  1.  Hartford Parent University
    1. Information sharing & coordination of events, schools will be notified and send out invitations to parents.
    2. Assistance with event planning and workshops, work together on policy and community reform.
    3. Work together with the HPU Leadership Coalition

 

  1.  RiseUp

vii.  Use of the NCHB App to have a tracking metric for student and senators in the upcoming school year.

 

            2)    Student Safety and Awareness

  1. Professional Development shall include sensitivity training for all staff, and develop trust building strategies for communicating with students.
    1. Communicate and develop mentor-like relationships with students in order to develop mutual relationships of trust.
    2. Understand and comprehend the financial and social struggles that students face in school and at home.
    3. Use caution when providing lesson plans and coursework that some students may find unrelatable or uncomfortable.
  2. Research related to suicide rates and sexual harassment MUST be included in at least one PD Session.
    1. This information should be used to maintain order and the appropriate environment for students to thrive in the classroom and on school grounds.
    2. With Parent’s permission this information and its procedures should be shared with students the FIRST DAY of every school year.
  3. Anonymous hotlines shall be made available to students, in order to report cases when necessary, with easy access 24/7.
  4. Students should be informed of ALL available support mechanisms and resources at the beginning of every school year.

 

3)    SAT Preparation

  1. Starting in the 1st Semester of the 10th Grade, Students shall receive mandatory SAT coursework and this coursework shall conclude the week of the SAT Exams, senior year.
    1. Naviance and other college preparatory services should then take over this time slot to prepare seniors for the college application process.
  2. All available SAT Prep materials and resources shall be mailed to all families at the beginning of the school year, for the following grades: 10,11, 12.
  3. 2 Credits of SAT Prep shall be a graduation requirement of all Students.

 

4)   School Counselors/Social Workers

  1. The HPS District should prioritize special support professionals for schools with high risk and intense needs.
  2. Solve discrepancies where schools have disproportionate numbers of social workers and guidance counselors to others.
  3. Effectively inform social workers and counselors of best practices when working with students of: Minority descent, low income households, and students with disabilities.

 

           5)   School Resources

  1. Providing essential materials to ALL schools such as paper, pencils, ink, etc.. should be maintained each semester and inquiry be made by all schools to central office approaching the end of each semester on the amount of supplies needed.
  2. Fair and even distribution of these resources (Based on individual school needs) should be overseen by Central Office or the appropriate department.
  3. The Student Senate should be briefed by Central office at the start of every fiscal/school calendar year on the status of their school’s funding.
  4. Budgetary decisions which undergo the Board of Education’s approval process, should be open to input from the student senate through the Student Senate’s 2 designated Board of Ed. Representatives who will consult with the student senate before and after the process is completed.

6)   Consolidation of Schools

  1. Long term, renegotiation of the Sheff O’Neill ruling needs to happen in order to consolidate the overflow of magnet and charter schools which has saturated Hartford’s student population and resulted in low enrollment.
  2. Short term, relocation/merger of schools to save resources and money is strongly recommended.
  3. The recommended solutions of how to use the old buildings can be found in the article titled, “Pennsylvania cities find creative new uses for old school buildings” (Citation #2). Some highlights of this article include the following:
    1. Conversion into residential spaces, Ex: Apartments, Condos, Senior Centers, etc.
    2. Museums.
    3. Recreational Facilities/ Public Health Offices.
    4. According to this article, “Many of the conversions from historic school to housing, museum or community center have relied on federal and state historic tax credits.”Tax credits make these projects happen,”

 

Conclusion

Our conclusions and decisions DO NOT in any form or fashion represent the political views of any specific individual, organization, or political party. These positions DO NOT target any specific individual, organization, or political party. Each and every detail is debated thoroughly and in line with the core principles we have vowed to adhere. We accept and welcome input of all kinds no matter how controversial or complex, and will continue our work on behalf of ALL students, regardless of Race, Economic, or Social status.

 

Works Cited

 

  1. “The Role of the Professional School Counselor.” PsycEXTRA Dataset (2007): n. pag.SchoolCounselor.org. American School Counselor Association, 8 Jan. 2007. Web. 12 Apr. 2017.

 

  1. Jaffe, Alan. “Pennsylvania Cities Find Creative New Uses for Old School Buildings.”KeystoneCrossroads.org. N.p., 13 Feb. 2017. Web. 20 Apr. 2017.