Student Issues Focus of ‘Raising Student Voices’

“Passionate about making LMS the best middle school in Fairfax County?”

This was the notice sent to students through Schoology on September 15, 2022, and the start of compiling a group of over 30 students for the Raising Student Voices committee.  

Raising Student Voices, as the name suggests, gives students a voice and empowers the students participating. They meet bi-weekly with administrators to voice their concerns. Assistant Principal Amy Smith runs the group this year and is excited about their first few meetings.

“It just tries to promote a sense of belonging,” said Smith.

They meet every other Wednesday during Lancer Time, and the club has raised some interesting points. Among their concerns, according to Smith, are practical issues like tweaking some things about recess and adding more school dances. They also want to tackle more difficult problems like preventing bullying and addressing gender issues.  

“A big one they want to talk about is when they get here in the morning, the arrival spaces,” commented Smith. Specifically, they would like to change the gathering areas in the morning, like the lecture hall or cafeteria, to see if they could add other options or put in different procedures to make it run smoother. Students are ready to get moving, but any change can be slow. 

“We haven’t really done anything yet,” said Lydia O., a student and member of Raising Student Voices. “We’ve been sorted into groups,  but I think it will be really helpful in the future.” 

Smith said thatIt helps them get involved, it helps them meet people they might not meet otherwise, and it helps them to have a positive impact on the day-to-day operations here at school.”

To better focus on all of the issues, the has been split into four groups based on their area of interest. The groups are focused on broad things, each with its own situations to handle. 

“We group them into subcommittees,” explained Smith. “So, one of them is on the student experience—that deals with stuff like after-school clubs, recess, things like that. One is on academics—kind of giving feedback or thoughts on how things are going in classes, best practices that teachers can be using, and what they find engaging or not. Physical space and building use is one, and another one is social and emotional well-being, to try and build on what you guys are doing in Lancer Time.” 

There are a few things that Raising Student Voices can’t do much about. They cannot change county policies, such as the cell phone use policy, without contacting the school board or going to a board meeting where people can talk about their school, what they want to change, and ideas on how to change it. If the club did try to take an issue to the school board, they could discuss it, but it is unlikely to be changed. 

Raising student voices helps students have a  positive impact on our school day. Overall, Raising Student voices is able to change and improve our school for the better, and they’re helping our students feel safer and happier at school.