School Site Council talks about school culture

MVHS+school+culture+is+a+mix+of+academics+and+athletics.+School+Site+Council+wants+to+make+students+feel+more+comfortable+in+their+learning+environment.+Photo+by+Jessica+Xing.%0A

MVHS school culture is a mix of academics and athletics. School Site Council wants to make students feel more comfortable in their learning environment. Photo by Jessica Xing.

Jessica Xing

School Site Council — who’s responsible for allocating funds for the school, at their last meeting on Dec. 7 —  discussed ways to make school culture at MVHS more holistic for every student. According to junior Girija Deshpande, chairperson of School Site Council, what they are planning to do is send a group of teachers to a school culture conference — a conference which helps teachers implement ways to reduce stress at school.

“Although we didn’t finish our conversation last meeting,” Deshpande said, “we started the discussion of student happiness and stress levels.”

Isabel McNeil, parent of a student at MVHS, as well as a member of Challenge Success and School Site Council, said that school culture is an ethereal idea — but the most important part of a school’s atmosphere is the feeling of validation.

“I was a retired educator,” McNeil said, “so I feel it’s really important to have a climate where not only students, but staff members feel validated and purposeful.”

MVHS school culture is a mix of academics and athletics. School Site Council wants to make students feel more comfortable in their learning environment. Photo by Jessica Xing.

MVHS school culture is a mix of academics and athletics. School Site Council wants to make students feel more comfortable in their learning environment. Photo by Jessica Xing.

School Site Council discussed what their ideal “school environment” would look like, and according to junior Theemeshini Govender, they want a place where everyone has a place to belong.

“We discussed athletics and clubs, because they are a big part of our school,” Govender said, “but we also discussed the fact not everyone belongs in those kinds of activities — so we want there to be other extracurriculars so they have a place to be.”

McNeil feels that every school can improve its culture — a big part of what she wants is for students to have control over their social and emotional experience at MVHS. MVHS is academically driven, so often students, under their stress, forget that there is a bigger world for them.

“We want to focus on how to help students be successful academically but socially, mentally,” McNeil said. “How we can attend to the whole child rather than just educating students, which is such a narrow definition of education.”