The Student News Site of Saratoga High School

The Saratoga Falcon

The Saratoga Falcon

The Saratoga Falcon

Advisory board of students helps principal in making better decisions

Caitlin Stoiber
Student board members gather in the cafeteria to discuss ideas to improve school life.

Each month during a Blue Day tutorial, 30 students, roughly seven to eight from each grade, gather in the cafeteria to listen to and discuss numerous school topics with principal Greg Louie. Louie presents an agenda of topics and attentively listens to students’ input, taking notes and action when needed. 

“A few years ago, we started the principal student advisory board here so I could have an opportunity to be able to communicate with students about either campus or district needs or concerns,” Louie said. “The students are able to provide feedback with regards to their experiences, about what’s working, what’s not working.”

These monthly meetings are crucial for student representation in decisions which involve the entire school or regarding co-curricular and extracurricular activities, Louie said. 

Since its creation five years ago, the board has covered topics ranging from trying to fix the outdated Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) system in the gym to solar panels and student safety issues. Last year, the board discussed their concerns about the lack of vegetarian meals and unclear labeling of different types of food. Louie took that information to food service personnel, who started implementing more vegetarian and gluten-free options this year.

“It’s a really valuable experience because it feels like I’m adding to the community in a meaningful way,” sophomore Charlotte Hu said.

The process of getting onto the student board is not difficult. Around the end of each school year, Louie sends out the application for the Principal Student Advisory Panel (PSAP) in the Friday newsletter. Interested students fill out their application with their interests and extracurriculars, which Louie uses to determine the board members. 

“He tries to [accept students] in a way so he gets people from different groups,” returning member junior Nathan Lee said. “I’m in the band so I can get opinions and vouch for that [group].”

Louie said he not only tries to make the board academically diverse, but also tries to foster gender and ethnic diversity.  

Once on the student board, students discuss the latest topics and events with Louie. Meetings are mandatory, and if someone misses two meetings, they will be asked to leave the board to make room for more active participants. 

The student board also provides leadership experience for its members, with senior Cameron Nguyen as Chair, seniors Victoria Le and Alana Liu as Notetakers, junior William Norwood as Vice Chair, junior Kirby Fung as Timekeeper and junior Alan Cai as alternate Notetaker. Candidates run for these positions and are elected by the other members on the board. Officers are tasked with making sure meetings run smoothly and adding agenda items if needed. 

In a past meeting on Sept. 28, for example, the student board reviewed Homecoming, including how it was different from other years and participation levels. Then, some ideas were proposed for the future, such as a parade through the hallways where each grade showcases students who will be in the quad performance and they rally throughout the halls of the school.

In a recent meeting on Nov. 16, the board discussed the results of the California Healthy Kids survey and how academic stress affects students. 

While ideas brought up in the meetings are taken into consideration by Louie, the final choice is still up to him and many other administrators. 

The student board allows for a channel of communication directly to the staff. Although their suggestions may not always be implemented, the board provides a safe environment for students to express their thoughts and opinions.

“We are basically an insight to public perception and public opinion based on the students,” Lee said. “We’re like one step in the process and then he goes to the staff and then he makes the final decision.” 

Donate to The Saratoga Falcon

Your donation will support the student journalists of Saratoga High School. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
Donate to The Saratoga Falcon