Grand Rapids, MI (WOOD) –20 of the school districts in Kent ISD came together for an event called State of the Student.  This event was all about the students of Kent ISD and how school leaders can listen and learn from their students.  Ron Koehler Superintendent of Kent ISD said “Kids take a lot of baggage with them to schools.   We need to understand their concerns to help them feel more comfortable in the classroom and help them understand that they can accomplish anything they want.”  The key things students said they wanted educators to hear at the State of the Student was how school as going for everyone as well as sharing how stressful it can be.  Students also want to be listened to and heard more.    

Superintendent of Grand Rapids Public Schools, Dr. Leadrine Roby, stressed the importance it is to leave a voice for their scholars to share their experiences.  It is important that we leave a voice open for our students because their experiences are authentic and engaging and listening to them helps improve their experience.  Feelings of isolation can be normal at school, and we should never be ashamed to open our hearts and share our feelings with someone we can trust.  Then that person can either give us the advice we need or link us to resources that can be helpful.    

Kevin Polston, Superintendent at Kentwood Public Schools stated that as educational leaders it is their commitment to serve the communities that they lead.  “We need to root our decisions in what’s reality for our students regardless of what it is.    We need to hear it so we can make the best-informed decisions for them.”  Kevin also left us with some words of encouragement stating that “Our mission is to create the conditions so you that you can live out your hopes and dreams.  We hope that education is just the lever to do that for you.”  

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