Helmut Schmidt, Published December 13 2011
Fargo School District: Davies students get face time with school board member
In Fargo’s high schools, having enough time to eat it is apparently a problem.
Seven Davies High School students gave School Board member Paul Meyers all the feedback he could use on what’s wrong with their school’s feedbag, though little of it involved the “cook’s surprise.”
“It wouldn’t be so bad if the line wasn’t so long!” said one frustrated student.
Others complained about computers that didn’t work and slow Internet speeds that made getting research and homework done a pain – a surprise for a school that opened just this fall.
“I think the teachers have problems with the whole technology thing, too,” said junior Kristy Brandt. “If they’re having trouble with it, then we’ll have trouble with it, too.”
Meyers, a former teacher, took it all in as part of the board’s third high school engagement session since late November. The board has also been to Woodrow Wilson and North high schools. They go to South High on Thursday.
“I felt that they gave us great feedback, that they were not afraid to talk. And they nailed us to the wall on a few things,” he said.
Meyers said he was surprised that some students preferred books over computers. But he “was really tickled” that they liked in-person discussions instead of Web video conferencing.
Meyers said adding five minutes to the school day during the lunch break seemed like an agreeable solution to prevent hunger pangs, but the complaints about technology issues are “a wake-up call.”
“We need to make sure the technology systems are in top shape. And I think it also speaks to the fact that we need to make sure our staff is fully up to speed on utilizing the equipment,” he said.
Board member Dinah Goldenberg said that the student engagement sessions are so effective that the board will repeat them this spring. The students don’t have a problem with that.
“It was good to hear what everyone thought,” said sophomore Taylor Anderson.
“I loved it. I thought it was a great idea. And it’s a good way to get the students’ opinions and express our concerns. Because if they just asked the teachers, they probably wouldn’t say the same thing,” Brandt said.
“The teachers would probably have different concerns from the students,” she said. “But we’re the ones that are going to school, so I think our opinions are the ones that matter the most.”
Readers can reach Forum reporter Helmut Schmidt at (701) 241-5583