The Superintendent’s Student Advisory Committee is celebrating its inaugural year. The committee, formed earlier this year by Long Beach Unified School District Superintendent Jill Baker, aims to amplify student voices and further students’ partnership with LBUSD.
The committee consists of 23 juniors and seniors from across the school district and creates a structure for two-way communication among adults and students.
With student members representing every LBUSD high school, the committee convenes to talk with one another, the superintendent and adult stakeholders to generate ideas for improving structures and systems in LBUSD.
Since its inception in September, student members have met with Superintendent Baker and the LBUSD Board of Education to share feedback, experiences and perspectives on a variety of issues within their schools and communities.
Maya Bryson, a senior at Wilson High School, and Megan Lane, a junior at Poly High School, serve as the student co-chairs for the 2020-21 academic year.
“Throughout these unprecedented times, I’ve had a lot of time to think about the world we live in. I’ve seen that all voices are not heard but deserve the space and place to be heard,” Bryson said. “This specific committee serves the sole purpose to let students and adults have imperative conversations in order to help LBUSD, and I knew that I had to be a part of it.
“When Dr. Baker asked me to be a co-chair, words couldn’t even explain the amount of honor and excitement that I felt. I knew that she picked me for a reason, and I can’t wait to help the many students in our district,” Bryson said.
As co-chairs, Bryson and Lane are responsible for co-developing and facilitating advisory meetings and agendas, reporting student recommendations and progress to the LBUSD Board of Education, and leading the committee’s mission to encourage students to participate in genuine and non-judgemental dialogue.
“I was interested in being a co-chair for one reason – to create a space for students in LBUSD to share their voice and opinions on matters that pertain to students in this district,” Lane said. “Without directly having open transparency with students, there is no real way of knowing what we really need from our schools. We are the experts of our own stories."
Lane currently interns at a youth leadership organization for racial equity. Bryson is an intern for LBUSD Marketing and Media Services and is on the varsity track and field team. She plans to attend Dartmouth College next fall.
The Superintendent’s Student Advisory Committee meets every month. The next meeting will be held Tuesday, Nov. 17. The newly formed committee has many goals for LBUSD students.
Among those goals is actively making space and catering to students of color while teaching others to be reliable allies in the struggle for equity, including for LGBTQ students, first-generation students, students in foster care, and students with disabilities. Sometimes, Lane said, this work requires people to “sit with discomfort and listen to ones different from yourself.”