On October 12th, Assistant Superintendent Dan Kalbfliesh took four Heatly High School students to the regional Elevating Student Voices event at BOCES in Albany. This is the second year that Heatly students have participated in the program focusing on training students in advocacy and abilities to address critical issues within their school.
At Green Island, the Student Voice group, made of 9-12 students, meets monthly to discuss and tackle some of the challenges facing Heatly School. Students facilitate conversations about representation, inclusion, bias and mental health which promote the Culturally Responsive-Sustaining framework. The meetings focus on empowering students to use their voices to bring awareness, create and implement action plans and ultimately foster change in their respective communities.
A positive outcome of these conversations has been the upgrade in food service at Heatly School, and the installation of the water bottle filling station. Students were able to taste test new food service vendors last year to make the decision about what food was best. The reviews so far this year have been overwhelmingly positive about the new food. Within 24 hours of the installation of the water station, 191 plastic water bottles were saved according to the meter on the fountain.
Students are thrilled with the changes they see as a result of their voices being heard.