The hallways of high school have been swarming with concerns about the new policies being put in place for next year. Finally, Student Council decided to take a step forward. On March 21, STUCO held a meeting which involved the school staff and administration to discuss these concerns.
The relationship between staff and students was the primary focus of the meeting. Participants addressed the following issues: the AP to IB shift, the effect on students when teachers leave, consistency in classrooms, students not being able to talk in their mother tongue, teachers denying students permission to use the bathroom, and the use of Early Morning Detention’s and extended study halls as a threat.
Each of these agenda items was given a time limit of ten minutes to be addressed, and the students as well as the staff presented their views. The meeting lasted for two hours.
The small group consisted of one representative from both grades 9 and 10, whereas there were multiple from grades 11 and 12. “I think it would be more balanced if we had more STUCO members from grades 9 and 10,” said Ms. Mou Maiti, the academic coordinator.
Additionally, five teachers and two administrators attended. The teachers present were from various departments, like Mathematics and English.
The students from the Class of 2020 and above had a lot to say about multiple new changes that the school is making in its curriculum and the shift in staff.
Due to the shortage of teaching staff, “students may be feeling underprepared” for the upcoming external AP and IGCSE exams, said Ameya Singh, the School President, Class of 2018.
The student leaders were honest in voicing concerns that high schoolers have, and many even pointed out specific people who may be the ones causing these problems.
In regard of the school hiring new teachers in the middle of the semester, Aadya Maya, Class of 2021 said, “So many new teachers don’t know the students at all.”
Adding on to that, Class of 2020 class governor, Priyansha Agarwal, also said, “The way the different sections of the same batch are being taught is very different.”
The students also pointed out their concerns about various glitches in the system that the staff works by; some even gave examples from their own experiences where teachers were unfair or biased.
Kritin Garg, Class of 2019, said, “It’s hard for students to say it, but we feel that some of them are just bad teachers.”
Ms. Amy Seefeldt, the Director of CFI and social studies teacher who was present at the meeting later, said, “I hope that one of the outcomes was students understanding that how the school tries to hold teachers accountable. On one hand you want to be generous to the teachers who are new, give them time to adjust because it does take time for them to adjust at Woodstock, and at the same time, students need help.”
STUCO will be inviting teachers again to another meeting to come up with solutions for the problems that were discussed.
The administration believes that this was more of a “listening meeting.” In the days to come, the school will try to work with STUCO to solve these problems, Ms. Seefeldt said.
As a follow-up, the school is looking to make changes next year: “Mr. Davies and I are talking about just taking the first few days of school in July and instead of having classes, using them for building trust between the students and teachers,” Ms Seefeldt said after the meeting.