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STAR alumni host the 2021 Superintendent’s Forum

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By Leonela Tasé Sueiro

The Superintendent’s Student Advisory Council hosted its annual Superintendent's Forum via Zoom on Friday, May 14. The council is a board made up of alumni from the Boys & Girls Clubs of Sarasota and DeSoto Counties’ STAR Leadership Training Program with representation from numerous high schools across the Sarasota County Schools district. Forty-two teens from seven local high schools participated through the facilitation of open discussions between high school students and school district officials with focus on improving Sarasota County Schools.

Student representatives from all over Sarasota County tune in to express the changes they want to see in their schools.

Each year, the Council works closely with their classmates and administration at their respective schools to identify challenges and concerns. With the support of the Superintendent of Schools and the Executive Director of High Schools, the Council organizes and holds the Superintendent School Forum.

At this year’s Forum, students worked alongside district officials to find solutions for their identified challenges and presented the proposed solutions to all in attendance. The discussion revolved around a variety of important topics such as mental health, COVID-19 and concurrent learning, and student engagement. Following the presentation, attendees had the opportunity to participate in a Question & Answer session with Superintendent Dr. Brennan Asplen III.

Superintendent Dr. Asplen works with student representatives to identify challenges at their respective schools.

“I believe Superintendent Asplen wants the best for students in the Sarasota School District. He listens to the issues we present to him and seems very adept at figuring out solutions. Overall, he is easy to work with,” said Quinn, a senior at Riverview High School and the co-chair of the Superintendent’s Student Advisory Council.

Over the next month, the Council will be reviewing the recommendations and comments made during the Superintendent’s Forum to compile and present a report to Superintendent Dr. Asplen.

As this event has resulted in real policy change in our school system in years past, teens in attendance remain hopeful that their voices will serve to implement the changes they’d like to see in their schools.

“The most prominent change students want is to have more engagement with teachers and other students, so that students and staff are happy and can learn in positive environments,” said Erick, a senior at Booker High School, and Council member.

To learn more about the opportunities offered through the STAR Leadership Training program, visit

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