Fifty-three juniors and seniors representing 26 independent schools from the Washington metropolitan area met at the PCW’s annual Student Leadership Breakfast to discuss issues affecting today’s high school students. To encourage candor and respect privacy, very few adults were present and students were assured anonymity. The students participated in both large and small group discussions. An adult moderator led the large group discussions and the small groups were self-directed. Each small group selected a student to report their group’s ideas to the large group. Four adult scribes recorded the students’ comments.Many of the topics were suggested by students at last year’s Student Leader Breakfast and the students directed the pace of the discussion. The topics included school sports and rivalries, student leadership, diversity, academic integrity, the college application process, time management, stress, camera phones, Facebook, sex education, drugs and alcohol, and the social lives of students. The students were also invited to share written comments to be conveyed to the school administrators.The students were forthcoming and positive, and comfortable with polite disagreement. They relished the chance to discuss their thoughts and concerns. Based on the comments and evaluations, the students found the program to be very unique, enjoyable and constructive. They were eager for their schools to know their concerns.
After the Student Leader Breakfast, notes from the program were organized and summarized. The summary included many direct quotes but did not attribute any comment to any particular student or school. The students’ insights were then shared with our member school communities through PCW programs such as Best Practices and the Deans Lunch, and the summary is being sent to the administrators and parent associations of our member schools.