Bay District students turned the tables on Superintendent Bill Husfelt in the Arnold High School auditorium Wednesday morning.
A group of 75 freshmen, sophomores and juniors from five local high schools taught him a thing or two as they shared their opinions on district policy. In fact, talking in this class was encouraged.
"We wanted to find out what they thought of some things before we start making decisions," said Husfelt. "[Students are] going to be very candid with you, they're going to be very up front with you, they're going to tell you what their concerns are and what their worries are."
The students gave Husfelt an earful, weighing in on topics ranging from morning start times to the dress code and lunch menus.
"I though it was very beneficial for all of us to at least voice our opinions for the rest of our student body," said junior Tasha Duong.
The superintendent spent more than an hour fielding dozens of questions and comments. "He seemed very interested in getting everyone's opinion," said sophomore Jasmine Qronfleh. "It was great because teenagers don't really get the opportunity to do that."
Most of the discussion focused on later start times for high schools. Research shows it can lead to greater academic success and the district is considering a change. Some students are in favor of starting their day a little later; others are not.
"I think Mr. Husfelt has a better idea of where the students are coming from as far as the scheduling, so that's the biggest takeaway," said junior Hunter Ward.
Husfelt said the students' mixed reaction is a reflection of the difficulty in pleasing everyone. "There are some people that don't like the schedule the way it is now, but if we change there will be some people that don't like what we change to," he said. "That's what I tried to get them to understand… there's no perfect scenario."
As the session ended and participants made their way to lunch, the superintendent was satisfied that students and administrators are on the same page. "We heard how important their academics are to them... they don't like wasting their time [and] they want to be taught in the classroom," said Husfelt. "That makes me feel good just to hear them say that... that's what we're supposed to be doing for them."
Student leaders who attended the meeting will now further the discussion with their classmates. Husfelt said the district will set up a survey in the next month or so to gather even more student input.