Students Encourage Parental Involvement to Get Conference Back

Emma Walrath, Reporter

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After weeks of teachers and students being unsure of the future of conference period, Principal Estrella stated in an email to parents, “After several discussions and two faculty surveys, we decided to go with the following option.  For the time being, each teacher will designate a conference time within their classes at least once a week.  Each teacher will decide individually what day this will be. The days can be flexible and could change from week to week, depending on where they are in the lessons.”

Many students feel that this latest change in school policy is negatively affecting their education. For one, why weren’t students – the ones who all the people who work at Sahuaro supposed to be supporting – asked what’s best for us? Why were we – the reason the school even exists – not consulted?  And Mr. Estrella left out the part that the survey gave only two options, and many faculty didn’t want either one. Sahuaro students need a designated conference period to thrive. A growing number of students are calling for Tuesday and Thursday conference period to be reinstated, from 8:10 am to 8:40 am.

Students are already feeling left behind and un-consulted in their own education and they are turning to their parents for back-up support.  They are calling this “Phase One” in the movement to fight for their educational rights.

On social media students are saying talk to your parents and ask them for support.  The advocacy group is saying,” Ask them to IMMEDIATELY call and email Principal Estrella at  (520) 731-7104 and [email protected] to advocate for conference. Parents should also email the vice principals at: [email protected], [email protected], and [email protected]  The deadline for calls and emails is Tuesday, August 27th.”

Why conference Periods Have Always Been Important and Helpful

Conference periods give students the much needed one-on-one time needed for the times they don’t understand something.  Students use it to make up labs, PE laps, tests, get assignments, use the library, use computers when they don’t have one of their own at home, and to ask what was missed.  Student involvement is encouraged at Sahuaro and it’s what makes high school memorable and feel like you’re a part of something bigger.  But to be involved in campus life means to miss class…to miss it to compete, to perform, to show off our intelligence, to make Sahuaro a school to be proud of.  Others miss class due to death, sickness, depression, appointments – how can we ever catch up?  How do those of us who want to excel, are going for the scholarships for the high GPA, who got home late the night before and need conference time to catch up on HW, who care about our grades or who just want to graduate high school, supposed to do that during class time with 30+ other kids in the room who might not need conference? If we can’t have our conference, how will we succeed?  Many of us just can’t stay after school – we have siblings, sports, jobs, lives. 

What Students Are Proposing

According to administration, there were problems with last year’s conference policy.  They cite that it is a liability for the school if students come to campus then leave; however, this problem can be solved by closing the gates at 8:10, like they have been every day.

Students who are late can go through the office, but attendance is not mandatory and students can move freely through campus. If the administration decides that students must be accounted for, then signing into their first period by initialing a roster can record who is on campus. 

Once students enter, they are required to go to a classroom, they cannot just be walking the halls. If they have no work, then they can go to a designated area and be watched by an adult (i.e. the auditorium, cafeteria, or football field). They would be able to move to a different classroom if they like, but once students enter, they cannot leave campus.

Having students assigned to a class will require passes, which will be a complex system that will ultimately fail and cause overcrowding of classrooms. Teachers voted against this option in the faculty survey, but were given no other choice.

What You Can Do To Support The Initiative

  1. Get your parents to email and call the school.
  2. Every time you talk to an administrator on campus, tell them how you have used conference in the past and why you feel it should be re-instated.
  3. Follow us on the class snapchat stories  for next steps if they refuse to listen.

There is no other walkout or sit-in planned, do not participate in the walkout Friday, August 23rd or storm any meeting. Students must remain united if there is going to be any change.

Students need a conference period, it is our responsibility to advocate for ourselves. We have a voice, let’s use it! The administration sees that getting rid of conference would be easier for them, students need to make is so that the easier path would be to give conference period back.

 

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