Principal Advisory Committee Gives Students a Voice with Administration

by Ziv Golan ‘26

Students want to feel that their input is considered when their schools make decisions and changes that affect them, and Sherwood responded to that prevailing sentiment by implementing Study Circles last year in which a diverse group of students met with school administrators and other staff. The need for such a meeting space became more pressing after a publicized incident in which Sherwood students shouted insensitive and hurtful comments at Einstein athletes during a soccer game last year. Principal Tim Britton decided to continue the meetings, renamed the Principal Advisory Committee, and held a meeting with students over the summer and then again on September 20 and October 18. The meetings will continue to occur once or twice a month throughout the school year.

“We can make Sherwood a more inclusive school for all our students and that’s based on student voice data,” explained Britton. “Most of our students are very involved in our school and are happy being here and feel supported, but our goal is that all our students have a level of comfort being at this school and are involved in something that they’re interested in.”

Britton decided to form the Principal Advisory Committee after students in Study Circles last year brought up a need for students to continue having a line of communication with administration. This new committee, like the Study Circles, consists of students representing diverse opinions, backgrounds, and grade levels. Many of the students chosen for the committee were involved in the meetings last year, along with a few others from action-oriented clubs. The first meeting of the committee, according to Britton, mainly was to share Sherwood’s mission, visions and goals. Students offered ideas for how the school more effectively can reach out to the student body.

“Some students talked about better ways of advertising all the great things that our school is doing, such as all the clubs and activities. Students could find out about those things through Instagram, Twitter, posting things on the school walls, and announcements,” said Britton.

The October meeting had a larger student presence with 10-15 students showing up, and various new issues heard by Britton. This time, according to senior and committee member Lilly Stewart, the meeting was not solely about ways to better promote Sherwood activities. Instead, true student problems such as unreasonable due dates for assignments, unfair work assigned to AP students who opt out of the exam, and more mental health awareness were all addressed.

What comes out of the committee is significantly based on what members want to address, with an eye on real change that includes student input in order to address issues that students feel are important to them. “I am eager to address the mental health aspect of high school. I know that myself and many other students have been feeling lots of stress, lack of motivation, and burnout recently, and I’d really like to find effective ways to support them,” said Stewart.