What is SFAC?

Leo Maslov

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SFAC stands for Student Faculty Advisory Committee, and it “serves as the student body for developing and recommending changes to school policy and procedures” (Uni High, n.d.). But the definition seems broad, since if they are focused on changes to school policy and procedure, then how come many aren’t aware of what SFAC does?

SFAC meetings are typically short. The one on November 14th lasted with time to spare to finish up lunch. The room is quiet for a few minutes as people come in and adjust; the silence is broken by Crystina prompting if anyone has something immediate to bring up for SFAC to discuss. From a few of the suggestions that were turned down, it’s clear that SFAC is truly focused on things that can be done to improve school life, while not actively affecting it. (I.e. No matter how much we want it the frequency of tests and homework will still stay the same)

However, an interview with Dr. Radnitzer and Crystina Wayne, it was cleared up as to why such an active committee is not seen weighing in more at Uni. And that was most reforms meet two obstacles. The first is most many commonly requested reforms don’t have clean solutions. The second is that reforms must satisfy everybody; they must pass through students, faculty, and administration. An example Radnitzer brought up was reforming the school days (when school starts, ends, period length, etc.). Something that has been in the works for a while but isn’t close to finishing. Reforming a school day is hard, and ideas to come by which satisfies the administrators, faculty, and SFAC are even harder to come by. However, we’ve already seen a less radical version of this in the late starts for agora days, something which was proposed by SFAC and agreed upon by Administration. But SFAC’s proudest moment are in the things that lie closer to students. Crystina recalls how an issue of bullying had come up as a concern in the underclassman, the conversation which ensued, and the ability to offer advice as an upperclassman; While Radnitzer remembers the Climate survey that students took last year, and their plans on discussing it later into the school year.

One of things which hadn’t been discussed in the November 14th SFAC meeting had been Makino grants, something which seems to be discussed heavily in other SFAC meetings. According to Dr. Radnitzer, a Makino Grant is a service for students, teachers, and schools the sum being given falling around 1500 dollars. Its focus is for providing students with enrichment activities, leadership development opportunities, and outreach activities; things like special summer camps. But it also funds things like the aquarium in the library. This is where an issue arose in both the interview, and the SFAC meeting. SFAC wants to share information on certain Makino grants like the ones that had funded the Aquarium in the library, or the Archery equipment used last year. However, the confidential nature of the Makino Grant in order to protect student confidentiality prevents SFAC from revealing Makino grants to the public.

And with the final moments of the interview Crystina and Dr. Radnitzer leave it off on an encouragement to talk more to our SFAC representatives more, as they represent our classes and voices. If you are interested these are the SFAC representatives of 2018-2019; Senior year: Crystina Wayne, Junior year: Smita Nair, Sophomore year: Maher Adoni, Freshman year: Lara Marinov, and Subbie year: Mikayla Blanke

 

Uni High. (n.d.). Student Council. Retrieved from University Of Illinois
Labratory High School website: https://uni.illinois.edu/organizations/
studco.shtml

Wayne, C., & Radnitzer, K. (2018, November 15). [Personal interview by the
author].

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