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School finds new ways to connect with students

By Joshua Yan Nov. 9, 2023

William Huang Photo

As a part of her new policies as the school's principal, Principal Harveen Bal has started to host student panels, in which students are able to voice their concerns surrounding the school policies and student life.

“We have done climate surveys in the past, but we always get more insight through face-to-face discussions with students. I want to be able to tell students about what we are doing to improve the school and get to know their concerns firsthand. Hearing the student voice is important because they are impacted the most from new policies,” Bal said.

Bal’s inspiration for the student panels came mainly from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC), which accredits schools and sets goals for their improvement. WASC examines schools for nine subgoals, such as maintaining student mental health and addressing the needs of every student regardless of performance group. The commission’s focus on these goals inspired Bal, who turned to the panels as the best way to address these issues.

So far, four student panels have been conducted. Each teacher at the school will be able to choose one student from their classes to be a representative at the panels, which are planned to be held monthly during lunch.

The student panels discuss a wide range of topics, from the intentions of specific school policies to the funding of certain school facilities. Concerns with school WiFi have also been brought up, prompting the administrators to take initiative to improve the situation. Turning off WiFi on cell phones is one example of their efforts, but more deeply, staff and faculty have been looking into specific locations within classrooms where the WiFi is weak and contacting vendors to tweak some systems accordingly.

Similar panels are also being conducted at the district level in the form of Intra-district Leadership Council meetings. During these meetings, representatives from each high school in SJUSD meet with the district’s superintendent in order to discuss issues at each school, such as the quality of school-issued chromebooks, phone policies and tardy policies. The school’s representative this year is Senior Kiana Shah.

“During the meetings, we get to learn about how other schools deal with certain problems. If it is a problem that all schools experience, we collectively brainstorm solutions,” Shah said.

Student panels represent the school’s efforts to be more transparent and aim to accommodate the student body. In the same way that collaboration is important in group projects and team sports, with the introduction of these panels, student input and feedback will play a crucial role in the way school policies will be implemented and enforced in the future.


About the contributors

Joshua Yan

staff writer

Joshua Yan is a Junior at Leland High School and is a staff writer for The Charger Account. In his free time, he enjoys playing the piano, listening to music, and playing video games.

William Huang

photography director

William Huang is a senior at Leland High School and is the Photography Director for The Charger Account. During his free time, he loves to watch shows, play with his dog, and sleeping.

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