Over the course of eight weeks, three Redlands East Valley students, Cameron Kroetz, Maya Sanchez, and Dylan McGee, participated in the San Bernardino County Superintendent’s Student Advisory Panel in order to contribute their opinions on various issues affecting San Bernardino County schools. The second annual Advisory Panel was convened in Rancho Cucamonga with the goal of informing the County Superintendent of what students desire to see in their schools and communities. Over 100 students from all over the county participated in this panel; students were able to separate into groups of about four that specialized in a particular issue where they created a powerpoint to present to the Superintendent and other elected officials.
Maya Sanchez and Cameron Kroetz were in a group with two other students and they focused on foreign language instruction in schools. They created a presentation that highlighted the need for foreign language to be introduced in primary school rather than secondary school. The students backed up their assertion with psychological and sociological evidence that shows the benefits of foreign language education in primary school-aged children. Dylan McGee was in a group that advocated for the creation of mental health programs in San Bernardino County schools while backing it with scientific evidence. Dylan McGee talked about how “not only does the Student Advisory Panel let you talk to elected officials to make a positive difference, it gives you free food. Free food is always good”. The students were accompanied by Vanessa Fairbanks, REV teacher. She remarked, “The student advisory panel was a wonderful experience that allowed me to help students to work together on a topic that they are passionate about and to present it to elected officials and stakeholders. The REV students who participated did a fantastic job and were complimented on their superior performances by the panels, staff members, and fellow students. The REV students looked like rock stars!”
Maya Sanchez described her experience at the panel by saying,“the program was an eye opening experience because it allowed me to see things beyond Redlands. I met some really great people who shared the same passions and for that I’m really grateful.” The Advisory Panel concluded on the Friday before Spring Break and was considered a great success by Superintendent Alejandre.