Boys & Girls Clubs’ STAR Program alumni host the 2018 Superintendent’s Student Advisory Council Annual Forum

Thank you to Sarasota County Schools and Videographer Katy Ellis for providing this video for Boys & Girls Clubs of Sarasota County use.

The Superintendent’s Student Advisory Council hosted its annual Superintendent School Forum at the Suncoast Technical College Conference Center on Tuesday, January 30. The Superintendent’s Student Advisory Council is a board made up of teens and alumni from the Boys & Girls Clubs of Sarasota County’s STAR Leadership Training program with representation from numerous high schools across the Sarasota County Schools district.

More than 70 teens from seven local high schools participated in the Forum with focus on improving Sarasota County Schools through facilitated, open discussions between high school students and school district officials including Superintendent of Sarasota County Schools Dr. Todd Bowden.

“On any given day, there are 43,000 students that make up the School District of Sarasota County, and we spend an awful lot of time talking about you,” said Superintendent Bowden in his opening statements to the students at the Forum. “What we don’t spend as much time doing is talking to you, so that’s what today is all about.”

Each year, the Council works closely with their classmates and administration at their respective schools to identify challenges and concerns before holding the Superintendent School Forum.

At this year’s Forum, students worked alongside district officials to find answers for their identified challenges and presented the proposed solutions to all in attendance. The discussion revolved around a variety of important topics such as extra-curricular activities, school environment, planning for success after high school graduation, innovative instruction design, mental health, safety and security, student engagement and social media use. Following the presentation, attendees had the opportunity to participate in a Question & Answer session with Superintendent Bowden.

Pine View School junior Javier Aramayo is the Co-Chair of the Superintendent’s Student Advisory Council; this was his third year as a forum participant.

“I was at the table where we discussed school environment. We talked about how diversity matters and how we can incorporate both introverted and extroverted people into everything,” said Aramayo. “This forum is a great way to engage students in coming up with a solution for important topics that help better our education.”

Over the next month, the Council will be reviewing the recommendations and comments made during the Forum to compile and present a report to Superintendent Bowden.

As this event has resulted in real policy change in our school system in years’ past, teens in attendance remain hopeful that their voices will serve to implement the changes they’d like to see in their schools.

To learn more about the opportunities offered through the STAR Leadership Training program, contact Suriya Khong, Director of Teen Outreach at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Sarasota County, at 941-922-5126.