Reimagine MN

Simley Students Attend Conference to Reimagine Education for All
Posted on 10/24/2019
Simley students attending the Reimagine MN Student ConferenceIn 2016, a group of metropolitan Minnesota superintendents, including Inver Grove Heights Schools Superintendent Dave Bernhardson, began discussing how to ensure equity and excellence for all Minnesota students as the state’s demographics change. Reimagine Minnesota is the comprehensive collective action plan superintendents are building, based on input from students, parents, and community members, to address integration, access, opportunity, and educational achievement. This October, Simley High School picked 30 students to attend the Reimagine Minnesota Student Conference, #StudentVoice, to add their experiences and ideas to the plan.

The student-led #StudentVoice conference focused on a single challenge for attendees: Design and build a school system that offers all children an education that provides equal access, opportunity, and equity in an integrated environment by 2030. About 2,000 students from around the metro attended breakout sessions to discuss everything from physical spaces in schools and district boundaries to technology and curriculum. The sessions encouraged students to share their stories about what they have experienced at their own schools. Five Simley High School students led a session about College and Career Readiness, offering insights about their own experiences in Simley college and career readiness classes and making sure everyone in the session had a chance to participate.

The conference was an exciting opportunity for both the students and the staff members who attended with them.

“These students are paving the way for elementary students,” Simley Dean of Students Rico Bohren said after attending the conference with students. “They’re not just affecting the actions of school districts but the entire school system, making sure that all students see themselves represented in their education and that multiple points of view are presented.”

After seeing the excitement and energy students had at the #StudentVoice conference, Mr. Bohren and Simley Principal Jerry Sakala made plans to check in with some of the students moving forward, creating a #StudentVoice group for the school. They plan to meet with 10 of the conference attendees twice a month so the students have an ongoing opportunity to share their insights with administration.