Superintendent McIntyre visits Coon Rapids High School for student roundtable discussion
(01/05/2024) On Jan. 5, Anoka-Hennepin Superintendent Cory McIntyre visited with students at Coon Rapids High School - Center for Biomedical Sciences and Engineering (CRHS) for the third of many scheduled student roundtable discussions throughout the district.
Superintendent McIntyre values student voice in the decision-making process and in ensuring the district is providing a safe, welcoming, and positive school environment.
During the hour-long sessions, McIntyre and other school and district administrators aim to gather student perspectives on the high school experience. View photos from the CRHS superintendent roundtable.
“I enjoyed the vulnerability,” said Onyx Iweh, a senior at CRHS. “There was a lot of communication and things were said that a lot of people kind of push down as high school students. The environment was welcoming and we got a lot said that maybe not everyone realized had to be said.”
Students discussed their relationships with teachers and staff at the school and how important it is to have positive role models and relationships with their teachers to create an environment where learning can flourish.
There were also discussions about student groups, clubs, and activities on how those who are involved in specific groups might find a welcoming place with peers, and also how they can maybe isolate others by not being open to other groups.
Another topic was the importance of connection and how students who felt a stronger connection to their teacher, had stronger feelings of belonging and more of a positive environment in the classroom.
“These are all things that you need to have, especially in high school before you reach that college setting,” Iweh said. “Without having proper guidance, who knows what our futures could look like.”
School Board clerk Jeff Simon; Dr. Josh Delich, associate superintendent for high schools; Nate Manaen, director of student services; and CRHS principal John Peña also attended the student roundtable discussion to hear from students.
The discussion was guided by questions from McIntyre and included time for the students to ask him questions to learn more about how the district operates and how decisions are made.
“It formed a backbone to know that these are the people that have power and they’re here to listen to you,” Iweh said. “It gives you a sense of security to know that the leaders in the district are there for you and not against you. When you think of a superintendent, you think of a shadowy figure that you hear of but never see, so to have that person in front of me, entertaining our ideas and being welcoming - helped me to see that leaders in the school system are genuinely on my side.”
Superintendent McIntyre has met with students from Anoka and Blaine high schools and will attend events at Andover, Champlin Park, Sandburg Regional and Anoka-Hennepin Technical high schools, the COMPASS program and the Secondary Technical Education Program (STEP).