The efforts required to offer students and families the choice of returning to school in person and to address the educational gaps and mental health issues caused by prolonged school closures have highlighted the need for parents, caregivers, teachers, and school district stakeholders to work together to advocate for the needs of students across school districts in Western New York.
WNY Students First was founded to help give students and families an organized and active voice regarding the education of students within their school districts. While the full reopening of all school districts in Western New York remains the organization’s top priority, WNY Students First is beginning to increase its focus on making sure that the perspectives of students and families are included in the formal decision-making process at the school district level going forward.
Students, parents, and caregivers represent the largest constituents within all school districts. Furthermore, the number one mission for every school district, above all else, should be to provide the very best education possible for all of its students. To achieve this mandate and to ensure that the needs of all students are being met by schools, it is therefore essential for parents and caregivers to have representation on all school boards.
WNY Students First believes that diversity, equity, and inclusion are important principles for all organizations, including schools. Studies shows that better decisions are made when diverse perspectives are included in the decision-making process. As a matter of proper governance, it is critical for all school district stakeholders, including students, teachers, parents, and taxpayers, to be represented in some way on school boards.
As the school reopening and mental health debate has shown, the perspectives of students and families have, at times, taken a back seat to other considerations. WNY Students First believes that part of the problem is poor governance at the school board level and a lack of parent participation and representation.
To help address this issue, to make sure that the perspectives of students and families are being heard, and to create a more diverse and inclusive decision-making process, WNY Students First will continue to advocate for student issues and promote proper representation on school boards.
As always, please reach out with questions or thoughts.
WNY Students First