The student news site of Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology


The student news site of Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology


The student news site of Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology


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SGA town hall brings students’ voices alive

Audrey Li
Taking a break from discussion, teachers and panelists converse among themselves and prepare thoughts for the next questions. The SGA-organized town hall brought class representatives and teachers together to discuss student concerns, student wellness and school policy.

On Friday, April 12, the Student Government Association (SGA) hosted the second town hall of the school year, bringing two student representatives from each grade and four department heads together to discuss policy and reform among the Jefferson student body. 

The town hall is one of the only events that offer students a structured time to discuss concerns with teachers in a conversational type setting. Questions were presented to the panel, which was a mix of students and teachers, bringing up issues such as grading, testing, and student advocacy. Panelists were free to contribute opinions and ask each other questions. Department heads from math, humanities, science, and technology also had an excellent opportunity to inform students about their ongoing efforts, increasing transparency and trust between students and teachers. 

“A great thing about town hall is hearing about what the departments are currently doing and what they’re currently doing to improve things. They were able to give their updates,” sophomore panel member Nargis Ibrahimi said. 

 Students on the panel were selected through an application form posted on TJ Intranet, where people interested in student policy could sign up to represent their class and talk to teachers. Those who weren’t involved in SGA or Class Council but were still interested in student leadership could start by applying for a position at the town hall.

“We selected the people who we felt would be the best fit to represent the student body as a whole. From each grade, we selected two representatives,” town hall organizer and SGA policy director Cameron Ake said. 

Some topics discussed included academic policy, department policy and student wellness. Students could also submit issues they felt needed to be discussed within each subcategory. SGA released the questions beforehand to help panelists prepare thoughts and get opinions from other students. 

“I think the issue that we talked about that I was most passionate about was delaying the grading of assessments. The issue [is that] teachers [take] too long to grade student assessments, and it can hinder students’ opportunity to learn from their mistakes. We agreed that there must be something done about it,” junior panelist Christopher Draper said. 

Throughout the panel, students were seated among teachers together, which is a sight not commonly seen otherwise. Ibrahimi described it as a conversation with students equal to teachers, which made discussion much more natural and productive. Students interested in what was discussed at the meeting can look for notes released by the SGA post-event, once they get administration approval.

“You usually don’t really get a lot of time or opportunities to just go up in the hallway to talk to teachers because they’re busy, so the town hall is a great way to facilitate discussion,” Ibrahimi said.

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