Students to weigh in on district issues

WICHITA. Kan. (KSNW) – A handful of Wichita's USD 259 students will have the opportunity to share their feedback with the superintendent on issues in the district today.

John Allison, USD 259 superintendent, will meet with around 100 students during the district's annual Superintendent Student Dialogue Session.

Each semester for more than a decade now, the sessions have provided a way to get student feedback and ideas that can be used to improve the district.

"Those are our customers," Allison told KSN. "It's important to get their input. They have some great ideas and opinions and those are the individuals that we're here for so it's an important customer base that we need to be talking to."

Each month Allison meets with his advisory board of students, then come fall and spring, those students work with their building principals to choose ten other students to join the conversation.

The group is a diverse one, he said.

"Each breakout group that we utilize will have students from other high schools and that's been a really powerful piece to this whole conversation," Allison said.

That combination makes up the roughly 100 students meeting with Allison today.

Earlier in the year, we told you USD 259 changed their calendar to make the school year shorter and to lengthen school days. That's one of today's topics of discussion.

As the school year reaches that nine weeks mark, Allison wants to hear how students think that change is going so far.

He also wants them to weigh in on the pros and cons of potentially changing the start and end times of the school day.

For example, changing the start time from 8 a.m. to 9 a.m. and potentially changing the end time from 3:40 p.m. to 4:40 p.m.

These are just ideas but Allison told KSN that the feedback given by the students today could impact future students to come.

"The questions we brought to them and the input we want are not just about them and that immediacy but really as we think long range and in some of the very key decisions our board has made, the student input has been critical," Allison said.

The feedback the administration receives from the students today will get handed to the school board in a report.

They'll weigh in on it just as they would with any other feedback from the community.

"Whether we're talking about boundaries or start times or budget, our students have had the opportunity to weigh in and our board counts that just as heavily as any other input they get from the community, and they have to weigh all that input to make the best decision possible," Allison said.

The event will be today, Wednesday, Oct. 26, is sponsored by Butler Community College and will be held at Intrust Bank Arena from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

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