OTTUMWA— What do students think?
Last week, nine Evans Middle School students ate lunch with Superintendent Nicole Kooiker and Secondary School Improvement Leader, Jeff Kirby. Students were treated to pizza while they talked about everything from cell phones to homework.
Student participants included: North Lindell, Lucas Barnes, Chloe Bradley, and Tyse Barker, seventh grade; and Maxwell Thomason, La’Niya Payne, Jesus Jaime, Sandy Argueta Rivas, and Anne Guest, eighth grade.
Students representing a cross-section of the school population were selected by the principal.
“We are meeting with students from Evans and the high school once a month,” said Kooiker. “The lunch meetings provide an opportunity to form relationships with students and allow their voices to be heard. We will use their feedback in strategic planning as well as for continuous growth of our buildings, programs, resources, and professional development.
Students shared several things they liked about Evans. One student liked the opportunity to go to OHS to take math classes. Others liked all the after school opportunities like Math Counts, Trap Shooting, and sports. Students also like the travel program and the trips they can participate in.
There are several things that make a class their favorite. Responses included fun experiments, hands-on activities, colorful posters everywhere, teachers with a sense of humor, and teachers who are up walking around. They also want teachers who are passionate about what they teach and confided that yes, sometimes classes are boring.
Students want to use their cell phones at school. “We should be able to listen to music to help us focus better.”
Another student noted that “usually one kid ruins it for everyone” in regards to cell phones at school.
There were some great ideas when it came to making Evans better. Ideas included Restaurant Day every Friday and being allowed to enter the school upon arrival, especially in the winter.
The middle schoolers hate pop quizzes and feel most homework should be done during the school day. They think middle school is stressful but also recognize the importance of their education. “Teachers open the door-we have to walk through it,” one student shared.
“There has to be school or you couldn’t grow up to do something.”
Finally they talked about peer relationships. “We behave well as a school,” said one boy.
“Without school there wouldn’t be a social life,” another student commented.
Students enjoyed the chance to share with the top educator of the district and are looking forward to more lunches. “It is important to stay connected to students and listen to their feedback and viewpoints,” said Kooiker.
“We finally get to share our opinions!” a student said.