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WILLIAM A.

SHINE - GREAT NECK SOUTH HIGH SCHOOL


STUDENT GOVERNMENT
END OF YEAR REPORT 2008-2009

Mission Statement:

The Student Government shall be the representative body that works in cooperation with the
administration to improve the quality of life at South High School and in the community. It shall
be the primary instrument for students effecting school-related change. The Student Government
shall be a means by which students combine efforts to server their needs.

Members:

Executive Board: Jon Weinberg (President), Steve Lotti (Vice President), Sebastian Deri
(Secretary), Nick Kim (Treasurer)

BCG Representatives: Ben Atlas, Jonathan Darnell, Sang Min Park, Joseph Yagoda

Representatives to the Board of Education: Dan Warner, Cheska Hong, Jesus Modesto,
Bobby Friedner

Shared Decision Making Committee Representatives: Sam Michaeloff, Josh Greenberg,


Hannah Oh, Andrew Grossman, Samantha Phillips, Brian Miranda, Alex Smith, Zak Malamed

Student Representatives: Neil Dave, Kara Lam, Dylan Reid, Tina Uznanski, Willie Zhang,
Bernadette Russell (Grade 12), Yong Bum Chun, Deepa Datta, Taylor Friedman, Steve
Germana, Dan Greener, Sarah John, Roy Weiss, Max Zander, Alexi Zloof (Grade 11), Kimberly
Chen, Andrew Gelfand, Richard Ha, Daniel Kushel, Ethan Levy, Chris Park, Sabrina Perlman,
Josh Ratner, Sarah Sherman, Jackie Wei (Grade 10), Jin Han Kim, Kevin Miranda, Laura
Mosco, Sharon Park, Mike West (Grade 9)

Faculty Advisors: Mrs. Jane Callaghan, Mrs. Karen Cantor

Meeting Dates:

September 24, October 15, November 20, December 16, January 14, February 26, March 17,
April 24, May 20

Executive Board Priorities and Agenda Selection:


Prior to representative elections and the first meeting, the members of the executive board met
and proposed that SG focus on achieving an attainable agenda. This agenda was reflected in the
prominence of several key issues discussed at every meeting. Rather than having monthly
meetings with varying discussion and little results, the board decided to take advantage of
monthly meetings to accomplish a set agenda.

2008-2009 Agenda:

School Spirit Week / Rebel Points

School Spirit Week and Rebel Points were introduced with the intent of better unifying the
student body and promoting school pride. Over the course of the school year, the executive board
met with Ms. Elliott, the Boys Athletic Association, the Girls Varsity Club and the Class
Planning Committees in order to determine how we could best ensure a successful year of
mutual support for school activities.

 Rebel Points were awarded based on attendance at school events


o At the request of a club, team or performing group, SG members would attend the
said event and record the number of students from each grade in attendance
o Tallies were made from master lists graciously provided by the Administration
o Ms. Elliott gave the pilot program her full backing and sent out multiple messages
to advisers in order to spread awareness
o Rebel Points were factored as part of the final Rebel Olympics Tally
 The FIRST annual School Spirit Week was held March 23-27, the week preceding Rebel
Olympics
o Each day featured a different dress up theme: Hat Day (Monday), Sports Day
(Tuesday), School Colors Day (Wednesday), Lazy Day (Thursday), Class Colors
Day (Friday)
o Class Planning Committees worked with SG to spread awareness of the themes
and rally students
o SG President Jon Weinberg maintained a Spirit Week Blog that was updated daily
and intended to boost morale and promote the event
o Students were asked to think of others and act as ideal Rebels
o Participation increased throughout the week, and by Friday there was near
universal participation, pride and support
o At the conclusion of the Week, bagels were given to those deemed to be the most
spirited

Midterm Policy

Over the past few years, the midterm policy at South has been in flux and subject to changes
based on departmental review. This year, because of a limited time frame and last-minute
additions, the midterm policy was not favored by a majority of the student body. SG decided to
advocate for a new midterm policy that reflected student needs and wants.

 Student Government initiated a campaign for a more student-friendly midterm policy


o Student representatives surveyed their assigned classes for suggestions and
responses
o Over the course of two meetings, SG members formulated a cohesive set of
recommendations for a new midterm schedule
o Our proposals included consecutive days for exams, no mixed test/class days,
providing sufficient resources for regular and extended time test takers, no
overlap and having semester course exams the week before midterms
o President Jon Weinberg and Vice President Steve Lotti met on multiple occasions
with Ms. Elliott, Ms. Applebaum and Mr. Duggan to present the
recommendations and discuss policy changes
o Members of the administration briefed SG on progress with the new policy
o While the new policy has not yet been formally announced, Ms. Elliott has
indicated that a majority of our recommendations were instituted
o This marks the first time in recent memory that Student Government influenced a
change in policy

Accountability, Transparency and Communication

Previous Student Governments were proven ineffective because they failed to effectively
function and communicate between the executive board and members, SG and students, and SG
and the faculty and administration. In addition, members did not take their roles seriously and
into account. To rectify the situation, the executive board instated reforms intended to improve
the image of SG among members of the school community.

 Report Confirmations were distributed to representatives at every meeting


o At the first meeting, members were made aware of their responsibilities and given
a list of social studies classes to report to
o Social studies teacher were required to sign off that students made their reports
o Sheets were collected by SG Secretary Sebastian Deri at the following meeting
and noted
o As a result, the number of classes reported to increased dramatically from prior
years
 Student Government initiated increased communication with the administration
o After every meeting, the executive board met with Ms. Elliott to discuss the
agenda
o Members of the administration were invited to most meetings, at which they gave
presentations, answered questions from SG members and observed discussions
o As a result, synergy between the administration and Student Government led to
increased two-way communication and goal-setting
 A Facebook group was created to improve communication between the executive board
and members
o Through the group, meeting were announced and members could suggest agenda
items in advance
o Frequent notification of progress and important dates led to increased meeting
attendance and participation by members
o The group was complemented by the use of email and the morning
announcements

Continuing Priorities and Goals:

School Spirit

School Spirit Week should be continued and improved in future years. Possibly, humanitarian
themes could be added, and events could count toward the Rebel Olympics point total. In
addition, in future years, there should be work toward Winter and Spring Pep Rallies, so every
team has its chance in the spotlight. The Rebel Points system should be retooled in partnership
with the Class Planning Committees.

SG Executive Board Candidacy Qualifications

In light of an unprecedented number of candidates for the SG Executive Board, many SG


members have proposed instituting qualifications to run for office. Upon further discussion and
debate, it is probably necessary to amend the Student Government Constitution to ensure
candidates for executive board positions are both familiar with Student Government and
prepared to continue progress and lead effectively.

Accountability, Transparency and Communication

While great strides have been made in this field, there is still a noted lack of accountability on
the part of some members of Student Government. More drastic measures, such as those
proposed by some candidates, are probably necessary in order to ensure SG fulfills its mission to
be a body truly representative of all students at South High School.

Summary:

The Student Government has made great strides this year, and I am confident the reforms and
agenda we accomplished this year will be furthered by future executive boards. It has been an
honor to serve as President of such a tremendous body. I commend the rest of the board and all
SG members for their hard work and dedication this year. As a representative body, we served as
a voice for all students and accomplished more than any Student Government in recent memory.
Special thanks are in order to Ms. Elliott and the rest of the administration, for devoting their
time to countless meetings and listening to us every step of the way. Finally, thanks to our
advisors Mrs. Callaghan and Mrs. Cantor, for without their steadfast support and dedication none
of this would be possible.

Respectfully Submitted,

Jon Weinberg

SG President 2008-2009

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