On Wednesday, March 8, Huntington Beach Union High School District (HBUHSD) 11th and 12th graders participated in the final session of the inaugural Student Advocacy Program.
Sponsored by the Huntington Union Council Parent-Teacher Association (PTA), this program promotes student engagement and collaboration with policymakers in decisions affecting K-12 education. During each of the program’s four sessions, students had the opportunity to engage with a panel of experts to receive information and opinions regarding education finance, current academic issues, and student wellness concerns.
At Wednesday night’s session, the panel included Dr. Michael Simons, Board of Trustees President, Kathleen Iverson, Board of Trustees Clerk, Susan Henry, Board of Trustees Alternative Clerk, Douglas Siembieda, Director of Special Education, Dr. Jessie Marion, Marina High School Principal, and Jan Campbell, 4th District PTA Advocacy Team Member. In addition to the panel members, Jason Ross, Edison High School Assistant Principal, moderated the evening by offering astute questions on topics such as meetings with legislators, techniques to advocate, and navigating important issues. The participants are encouraged to respond and interact with the panel members by offering follow-up questions and comments.
“It is never too early to become a serious advocate for public education,” said Board of Trustees President, Dr. Michael Simons. “It is refreshing to see our students take a personal interest in supporting education and trying to make things better for future generations.”
Following completion of the four sessions, each student must independently meet with a representative to discuss a specific issue affecting their school site. The students are then expected to advocate for their issue in a public setting like a School Site Council Meeting, a School Board Meeting, a meeting with a local legislator, or a city councilperson. To complete the program, students will then compile a report to submit to their school PTA outlining their experiences and the results of their advocacy efforts.
The Huntington Union Council PTA Student Advocacy Program is made possible by support of the PTA, the Board of Trustees, and the district.