Nottingham ENL Advisory Club Gives Students a Voice
Published on 2/5/18
District News Nottingham High School
“What programming do you want to see here?” Principal Maynard asked.
“We would need to talk to all ENL students,” one student responded. “We couldn’t just decide on our own.”
“That’s good leadership,” Mr. Maynard responded. “So go ahead and talk to them, and then let me know.”
Each month, English as a New Language (ENL) students in the school’s ENL Advisory Club gather in a classroom to discuss their requests for school, issues at hand and more. ENL teacher Lauren Cirulli and Mr. Maynard are present to respond to student concerns and to ask questions.
“This group started about five years ago as a way for our ENL students to make sure that their cultures are being represented in our school,” Ms. Cirulli explained. “They’re kind of our eyes and ears among the students. They let us know if their classmates are voicing any concerns or if they see any issues.”
The group has taken the lead in hosting parent nights for ENL families, as well as community-building breakfasts for all ENL students in the building. There, they have worked together to brainstorm: their goals for Nottingham, the top issues they’d like to see addressed at school and study tips to provide to their peers.
There’s a big demand for a boxing club at school, several students commented. There’s also interest in a mechanic club. Students were in agreement that they’d like to see cleaner bathrooms – and mirrors in them. They’d like their peers to seek help when needed and stay after school if they need help finishing work or learning material. And, at the top of their list, they’d like to graduate.
“Maybe in the middle of the marking period, we can have a day when teachers come to the library at a certain time,” one student suggested. “If a student is having trouble with something, they can go talk to that teacher and get extra help.”
“That’s a good idea,” Mr. Maynard agreed.
“Sometimes, Mr. Maynard agrees with our ideas,” junior Maryam Alowaid said. “Sometimes he doesn’t. When he doesn’t, he shares his knowledge with us so we can understand and learn more. This group helps us in school because it helps educate us so we can be more prepared when we graduate.”
As they work through their list of proposed changes, students hope to invite in some guest visitors. The Director of ENL could address questions about ENL teachers, for instance; the Director of Transportation could address logistics of ensuring that ENL students who stay after school are able to get home safely.
“This group benefits Nottingham by providing a richness of thought and ideas that without the Advisory group would never be revealed,” Mr. Maynard shared. “Most importantly, the students who participate in the group have a voice. They have the opportunity to sit down with me and voice concerns. There may be no other more important aspect of education than teaching students how and when to voice their opinion. These students have come a long way toward gaining that skill.”
Keep up the great work, ENL Advisory leaders!