RAYMOND, N.H. — Superintendent Tina McCoy and Principal Laura Yacek report that shortly before school was interrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic, students at Lamprey River Elementary School had a special opportunity to make their voices heard relating to improvements they wish to see at the school.
Earlier this year, fourth grade students at LRES discussed ways they wanted to improve/make things better at school. After many discussions, the students came up with three changes that they would like to make at LRES.
The ideas were shared at an all-school meeting in February, and fourth grade students spent the following weeks posting posters around the school, campaigning in classrooms and sharing messages online using FLIPGrid.
All of their hard work soon paid off. As families went to the polls in Raymond on March 10 for the town’s Annual Election, students were met by a ballot box at the school’s voting site for Raymond residents. Some students were able to experience voting alongside their parents, while others were able to vote the next day at school.
Choices for the students to vote on included:
- Make changes to lunch. For example, allowing music during lunch, varying choices on a daily basis, and allowing students to choose their own seats.
- Make changes to recess. For example, playground improvements, more playground materials (soccer balls, basketballs, footballs, a place to dig with buckets and shovels,etc.), more swings, and a gaga ball pit.
- DIY Room/Student Lounge. For example, students use “Maker Space,” squishies, and allow students to read on bean bag chairs.
A total of 411 students cast their vote. After tallying the results, the option for changes to recess received the most votes, with 192.
Second place went to the DIY Room option, with 145 votes, and changes to lunch received 74 votes.
“This was such a great experience for our entire school community, and the fourth graders in particular truly got to learn about using their voice to share ideas as well as using persuasive words to share with their peers,” Principal Yacek said. “Our younger students learned what it’s all about to hear different ideas and choose between those ideas to determine what they felt was the best plan for changes to LRES.”
Changes to recess will now be discussed by school staff and put in place for the start of next year.