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Common Ground undergoes second revamp

Discussing+ideas+for+lessons%2C+junior+Sabrina+Bohn%2C+sophomore+Ulaa+Kuziez+and+junior+Kaitlyn+Faber+plan+for+upcoming+Common+Ground+meetings.+The+trio+plan+to+design+the+Common+Ground+curriculum+for+the+2019-2020+school+year.+%E2%80%9CI+hope%2C+overall%2C+that+Common+Ground+more+effectively+reaches+students+and+allows+for+a+more+comfortable+place+where+we+can+discuss+the+issues+that+the+school+is+facing%2C%E2%80%9D+Bohn+said.
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Common Ground undergoes second revamp

Discussing ideas for lessons, junior Sabrina Bohn, sophomore Ulaa Kuziez and junior Kaitlyn Faber plan for upcoming Common Ground meetings. The trio plan to design the Common Ground curriculum for the 2019-2020 school year. “I hope, overall, that Common Ground more effectively reaches students and allows for a more comfortable place where we can discuss the issues that the school is facing,” Bohn said.

Discussing ideas for lessons, junior Sabrina Bohn, sophomore Ulaa Kuziez and junior Kaitlyn Faber plan for upcoming Common Ground meetings. The trio plan to design the Common Ground curriculum for the 2019-2020 school year. “I hope, overall, that Common Ground more effectively reaches students and allows for a more comfortable place where we can discuss the issues that the school is facing,” Bohn said.

Courtesy of Sabrina Bohn

Discussing ideas for lessons, junior Sabrina Bohn, sophomore Ulaa Kuziez and junior Kaitlyn Faber plan for upcoming Common Ground meetings. The trio plan to design the Common Ground curriculum for the 2019-2020 school year. “I hope, overall, that Common Ground more effectively reaches students and allows for a more comfortable place where we can discuss the issues that the school is facing,” Bohn said.

Courtesy of Sabrina Bohn

Courtesy of Sabrina Bohn

Discussing ideas for lessons, junior Sabrina Bohn, sophomore Ulaa Kuziez and junior Kaitlyn Faber plan for upcoming Common Ground meetings. The trio plan to design the Common Ground curriculum for the 2019-2020 school year. “I hope, overall, that Common Ground more effectively reaches students and allows for a more comfortable place where we can discuss the issues that the school is facing,” Bohn said.

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Common Ground will be undergoing an overhaul starting in August, where multiple students from the  Superintendent’s Social Justice Leadership Advisory Council (SSJLAC) are planning to form a new club to design the lessons.

Common Ground is a monthly school-wide meeting, where students are split into classrooms of around 20 students. In the past two years, much of Common Ground has been dedicated to the planning, execution and reflection of the annual Day of Service. The students from the new club, however, believe that Common Ground can be a more productive use of time and are working to make that happen.

“Everyone that I’ve spoken to has said that they don’t really like Common Ground right now; most think it’s a waste of time,” sophomore and club member Tiye’ Hyler said. “I think that changes are necessary so we can get students more engaged.”

The new club members believe that the best use of Common Ground time will be educating students about problems facing the school and the community.

“We have a very diverse student body, but I feel as if the diversity is not appreciated or accepted. These changes in Common Ground are meant to encourage students to be more open and accepting of their peers,” sophomore and club member Ulaa Kuziez said.

Changes to  Common Ground were implemented for the final meeting in April, which will set up the transition into the 2019-2020 school year.

“For the last Common Ground, we [had] students give us their feedback on what they’d like to see from us next year. We have been working closely with the students from the new club in trying to interpret the current feedback based on the school climate survey,” freshman principal Kate Piffel said.

Both Piffel and members of the new club believe that there are problems within the school community that need to be addressed.

“We want to use the new Common Ground to be able to address immediate issues that may be happening around the country or inside West itself,” Piffel said. “One thing that we want to continually address is the issue of respect among students. About 50% of our respondents [in the climate survey] said lack of respect between students was some sort of problem.”

With the rise in the use of social media among teens, Common Ground will also attempt to take a leading role in making sure students respect one another online.

“I don’t believe it is the school’s job to police social media, however, I do think if it causes problems within the school community then it does become an issue that we have to deal with. It’s something we’d like to address in Common Ground as well,” Piffel said.

The main goal of the new curriculum is to help students feel more connected to each other at school through increased respect towards each other.

“It’s hard to connect with someone if you don’t really know them,” Hyler said. “We see each other in the halls, but we don’t feel respect towards them because we don’t know them. This is something we want to address.”

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Common Ground undergoes second revamp