New program funds student-driven changes to school building

Jake Sapp | Staff Writer

If you have ever wanted to get your ideas funded in order to make big changes in the school, now is the time to do it.

On October 31, the high school administration will be rolling out a new program being called “The Big Idea Hunt” with the intention of bringing a new level of student involvement to the school. Students will generate ideas that they believe will benefit the school, and then post them on a website similar to format of Facebook, according to Innovative Learning Coach Aaron Roberts. 

The ideas will be voted upon via a pairwise system, where different ideas will be competed against one another in a similar fashion to a tournament bracket. The final winners will be eventually executed by the school.

“Students will have an opportunity to identify problems and offer solutions to the problems that they see within our high school,” Roberts said. “They can range from large to small to anything in between, and nothing is off the table for what students can come up with and present.”

The top-voted ideas will be broken down into three different categories based upon how much funding they will need to go through with them: two $1500 ideas, five $500 ideas, and ten $100 ideas. Roberts wants the program to be a platform for students to be able to make their voices heard, so that the school can better suit them and their needs in the future.

“We like to call it ‘crowdsourced innovation,’” Roberts said. “The ideas that students present could be things as small as ones affecting just their homerooms, to massive scale ones that may have an impact on the entire world. We really want this to be a place for students to really impact their community in a positive way, and feel as though they have control at the same time.”

 

 

 

 

Administrator Shanna Bumiller, who helped establish the program’s foundation, said she sees it as a new way of approaching student involvement and experience.

“It’s always difficult for us to come up with ideas that truly engage students,” Bumiller said. “Based on feedback, we realized that it would be really cool to implement a program like this that would allow us to actually see firsthand what the students want.”

The program aims to offer a window for students to express their ideas, and Bumiller said there will be no restrictions on the ideas.

“If we start placing restrictions on what students can put out there, then we are telling students what it has to be,” Bumiller said. “That’s not the nature of this idea. For us to say no to something would be entirely contradictory to our final goal with all of this, and that’s not what we want.”

With the student-focused drive of the program comes a variety of areas that students may want to fix. Given the opportunity, junior Clarence Spencer said he would like to see student lounges placed into the unused computer labs next year.

“If you had a study hall or an extra bell, you could go in there and just relax a bit to destress,” Spencer said. “A lot of kids just wander the halls during those times, so having a place for them to go and hang out would be really nice.”

Even though the program is a brand new thing this year, Roberts sees the Big Idea Hunt as something that can be built upon and cultivated over the coming years.

“I hope that not only do we do it every year, but we grow it,” Roberts said. “We already are going to have an immense amount of ideas from just our students alone. Imagine what we could do if we included other members of our high school staff.”

Graphics compiled by Ryan D’Souza.

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