Superintendent’s Student Leadership Team to bring about big changes

Senior Keir Hichens discusses the outcomes of the January 8th leadership conference with leadership teacher Ms. Fitz
Photo by Zak Sleeth

The Superintendent Student Leadership Team is comprised of 14 students from high schools all over the District and aims to find problems the schools are facing and create solutions as well. The group had its first meeting back in November.

Dr. Susan Enfield, Superintendent of the Highline School District, created this team of students to open communication between the schools in the District.

“[A] goal is for them to hear from one another and see that there is far more that unites us than divides us,” said Enfield. “Regardless of what school you go to, our experiences are pretty similar in a lot of our issues and concerns.”

Because RAHS is such a small school, only one candidate is sent to represent the school. The candidate for RAHS is Keir Hichens, senior class captain at RAHS. Despite being the only person representing the school at the meetings, Enfield feels like Keir is the perfect representative for RAHS.

“He was great, he was wonderful, he was an active listener and I think he really honored all of the ideas being represented around the table,” said Enfield. “I just appreciate everything he had to say. He gets an A in my book.”

The first meeting had a largely fluid agenda in which students voiced the biggest problems they faced at the schools.

“Advisory came up, the degree to which students feel safe and supported asking for help at school,” said Enfield. “Sadly this is an issue I’ve heard from many other students at venues where I’ve been meeting with them, that they don’t always feel like they can ask for help because they’re made to feel like they’re not smart or they should have figured it out and that’s a big problem.”

Enfield has tried having these leadership teams when she worked in the Portland, Seattle, and Vancouver School Districts as well and is hopeful this one will be equally successful, if not more so.

“People were candid, and they were respectful, not just of how they talked about people who weren’t at the table, they were also respectful of one another at the table,” said Enfield. “They did a great job of building off one another saying ‘yeah, that’s a big issue for me to,’ so there were a lot of ah-ha moments and I felt it was a very productive start.”

Keir Hichens has been bringing up issues that not only affect RAHS but the entire District, such as quality of substitutes.

“I brought up quality of substitutes because it was very interesting to hear that [issue] as a continuous theme throughout the entire District,” said Hichens. “I know being in AP Physics I last year we had a substitute for the entire month and a half period before the AP test and a lot of the students felt that we definitely weren’t getting the highest quality education before the AP test so it wasn’t really preparing us.”

Despite the concerns regarding AP Physics I, Keir is overall grateful with the quality of substitutes at RAHS.

“I think our school is lucky with substitutes because we have a few returning substitutes, like Mrs. Campisteguy, who really have their system down and know exactly what they’re responsible for doing,” said Hichens, “but some other schools have had a lot of troubles with [substitutes].”

At the meetings, Hichens has also been working with Dr. Enfield and Mrs. Tipton to try to get advisory back on its regular schedule for next year.

“I learned that we can apply for a waiver for the bargaining agreement in the Spring,” said Hichens, “and Mrs. Tipton is looking into that so hopefully we’ll be into our original schedule by next year.”

Hichens does his best to make sure that not only his voice is heard, but that his attitude reflects RAHS’ attitude as a whole. He wants to let people know that he is always open to hearing ideas for future meetings.

“I kind of view my role as an extension as my position as class senator so I’ve asked at the senior meetings and I’ve asked if they have anything that they would like me to bring up,” said Hichens. “I’d like to put out there as well that everyone and anyone is welcome to contact me with ideas or if they just want to have a discussion about something they would like me to address.”

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