Climate Board looks to involve students in on-campus equity


Olivia Sasson

Principal Adam Desautels speaks with students at a preliminary Climate Board meeting on May 14. From left to right: Owain Waszak, Jayden Estevez, Rahima Baluch and Ashley Egger.

A student-led Climate Board, introduced for the upcoming academic year, aims to put forward a more diverse range of student advisors to administration and ASB. The board is expected to include 20 students from differing academic and social backgrounds: students of color, athletes, special education and English language learners, amongst others.

According to ASB President Anisha Chowdhry, the program will fill the missing link between staff diversity committees and the student population.

“It’s about how people feel comfortable and safe at school,” Chowdhry said. “We’re going to talk about underlying racism, sexism — all of that stuff. How do students interact with students? How do students interact with teachers? How does staff interact with staff?”

The board will address how administration communicates with the student body. The committee plans to select a group representative of the whole school to review communications such as surveys, announcements and programs before they are released to the student body as a whole. Principal Adam Desautels said he hopes the students will give administration a more honest assessment of student issues.

“I’m looking for students who will be blunt,” Desautels said. “Not somebody that will tiptoe around an issue, but somebody who’ll tell it exactly how they see it.”

Administration, alongside ASB, will be selecting students who have felt less represented by administration in the past, Chowdhry added.

“When we’re creating this climate board, we’re picking students on campus who have less of a voice. Those who don’t have as direct access to admin,” she said.

Last year, administration introduced an equity team comprised of staff. The group focused on culturally-responsive classroom practices. The Climate Board, instead, is the first to address student-to-student issues.

“We’re trying to get to the root of this so that we can start to make some change,” Desautels said. “What better way than to ask students?”

For inquiries about the Climate Board, or for interest in taking part, contact Principal Adam Desautels at [email protected]

“We wanted to create something with student involvement. This is what it’s led to between both of us.”

We have a lot of very diverse smaller communities on our campus. I was kind of looking for a representative of each.

I was trying to figure out a way to get to the root of some challenges that we’re having student-to-student on campus. We’ve been seeing and hearing that there are few students that don’t really feel like they belong here, and I’m trying to get to the root of that so we can start to make some change. And, what better way than to ask students?