High School Students in Charge as Part of Reimagine Richfield

November 29, 2017 09:14 PM

It wasn't a typical high school day in Richfield Wednesday.

That's because 1,100 students in grades 9-12 weren't sitting in class listening to their teachers.


Instead, they had the reins and were leading discussions on what they want their high school to look like in the future.

"I would feel more comfortable at Richfield if there was more multi-racial teachers," one student said.

"More after school programs," another added.

"We need better life-skills training rather than education training," a third said.

These are the kinds of ideas that officials in Richfield schools hope leads to change.

"I think we should get gym credits for playing extra curricular sports," a male student said.

"I think there should be some programs to help students with stress relief with school," a female student added.

"It's all about getting their perspective from the ground up as we continue to improve systems to improve outcomes for them," said Latanya Daniels, the principal at Richfield High School.

The concept is called Reimagine Richfield. Adults have relinquished control, wanting advice from students on how to create a district-wide environment where each student can learn, grow and excel.

A good portion of the day was spent in small groups with students discussing what they want to see and what's important to them.

Topics were brought forth by students. And a graffiti wall was awaiting suggestions. There was even a performance space for expression.

It's a concept that's been in the works for more than a year. Student leaders say it's great.

"Kids, who I feel like are really shy, are standing up and saying what they feel needs to be said," said one student leader.

"We need more gym time after school for not only athletes, but (for) students to engage in physical activity," added a student.

Several students wanted changes to the bathrooms, including better stalls.

"I think we should have more budgets toward the band program," yet another said.

In all, there are 40 Minnesota school districts taking part in what's being called Reimagine Minnesota. Topics around the state being discussed range from curriculum reform to eliminating the achievement gap.

Next week, Richfield's ideas will be shared at the Association of Metropolitan School Districts conference.


Jessica Miles

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