BY SASHEEN JOSEPH
Attempting to meet with as many high schools as possible, Broward County Public Schools (BCPS) Superintendent Robert Runcie met with a select group of CCHS students in the media center on Tuesday, January 30 in order to determine the main concerns in BCPS schools.
Commencing the meeting at the end of first period, Runcie outlined three themes he was most interested to hear from CCHS students about: mental health and wellness, school safety and preparedness for the future after high school.
Relating to mental health and wellness, the early start time of school was brought to attention. The suggestion to start school later was made due to the fact that students who are involved in multiple programs and higher-academic classes don’t get enough sleep, to which Runcie agreed.
“We’ve commissioned a study, so we brought some consultants in to figure out how we can change the start times in this district so that high school can start a little bit later,” Runcie said. “If it’s something that costs like 2 to 4 million dollars, I think we can seriously entertain doing it. If it costs 10 to 12 million dollars, that’s going to be a challenge.”
Shortly after, the topic of frequent drills steered the conversation to school safety, where senior Hana Amireh proposed incorporating a “Stop the Bleed” program for students, along with voicing her concerns about properly trained security.
“I lost a friend [from] Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School (MSD), so I was wondering what improvements have been done for security because I know some of them over there weren’t the best trained,” Amireh said. “I want to know how you plan to improve it in the future.”
Multiple students expressed their concerns for college and having the necessary resources.
Runcie proceeded to explain that since the MSD tragedy, Broward County has spent over $100 million on security and is making an effort to install “Stop the Bleed” kits in all schools, along with training teachers how to properly use them.
Continuing with the open floor, multiple students expressed their concerns for college and having the necessary resources. For instance, free Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) tutoring was suggested by senior Veronica Martinez and, along the same lines, junior Rachel Goldberg expressed her concerns for college preparedness, or lack thereof.
“We have college and career fairs and a lot of events here where colleges come to talk about what they offer, and I still feel clueless,” junior Rachel Goldberg said. “I feel like I don’t have a lot of time left before, one, I’m a senior and, two, I have to apply to colleges and I still feel like I know nothing.”
This brought up multiple other issues regarding administration and their efforts to address student concerns whether it be academically or socially. Runcie provided personal advice to focus more on other aspects of the college application process, such as the essays, instead of taking as many Advanced Placement (AP) courses as possible.
Besides the academics, students were also informed by the superintendent that efforts to improve security, along with developing a mental health awareness curriculum to keep students mindful and motivated for the future, are under development.
Photo by Makinzi Burgs