Groveland trustees get input from kids

March 13, 2003 11:00 pm

By CLAIRE ST. JOHN

Don Pedro High School students still want a gym, music classes, photography classes and more sports.

So trustees of the Big Oak Flat-Grove-land Unified School District learned when they visited the high school yesterday and asked students what they liked and disliked about their school.

Trustees and district Superintendent John Triolo met with students in a classroom, and invited them to speak openly — there were no teachers or school staff in the room.

Many, however, gave the Don Pedro High experience a thumbs-up.

But while the good news tickled trustees, they said they were looking for ways to improve the school and increase attendance. Just 50 students attend the south county campus — down from about 100 in recent years.

Lake Don Pedro Elementary School in Mariposa County, is Don Pedro High School's main feeder school. But 80 percent of those school kids are choosing to attend high school further into Mariposa County.

"What makes you want to come here?" Board President Gloria Marler asked. "Is there anything that makes you regret your decision?"

Some students say a lack of electives might put off potential Don Pedro students. The recent addition of fire science and home economics courses were well-received by students, but they were not happy about losing welding and auto mechanics classes.

When the board held a board-and-student forum last year, one result was a bond measure on the November ballot to build a gymnasium at Don Pedro High and another on the Tioga High School campus. The bond failed, but the board is still working to make the two gyms a reality, trustees told students.

Students also requested outdoor eating areas last year, and with a little effort, Don Pedro High students saw that idea realized early in the school year.

Happy that at least one of last year's suggestions became reality, students yesterday talked about other positive aspects of their campus.