School environments remain the same, whether in the U.S. or India. What will it take to make it better? Ranjani Anirudhan has some suggestions.

As time flies, Grapevine Colleyville School District has a lot in mind. One aspect that has a huge role in making our schools successful is how to make learning for children more enjoyable and fun. Four middle schools — Grapevine Middle, Colleyville Middle, Heritage Middle, and Cross Timbers Middle — were gathered to discuss this important matter.

We started by discussing our big district mission, which was to be the best, and talked about the things we expected from each other. Unlike high schools, middle schools do not have rankings and I thought that this would make it more competitive. We came up with a unified middle school belief, which we identified as being important.

Transition

Some ideas discussed included, “Our mission as the middle schools is to have a comfortable transition between elementary and high school” or “Our mission for middle schools is to develop a good social interaction between students, teachers and parents.” We discussed the importance of making students understand this, especially those in middle school, as they should get used to the amount of work in the transition from elementary to middle school. Activities such as sports and music help students think about things other than school. Also I think that singing or dancing or maybe even just hanging out with friends over the weekend or after school is important.

We discussed taking learning beyond classrooms. This is about learning to manage your time and getting ready for the real world. Schools and classrooms offer a lot of positivity but the real world is different. Students can do chores around the house and learn to get along with people they don't know.

Also, schools should have some time for students to get outside for fresh air and 30 minutes to just go wherever he/she want or be with friends. Finally,

Our mission statement was to promote and guide dynamic collaboration among peers, foster confidence, explore new possibilities and challenge students to be motivated learners. We also did SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats) tests and identified attributes that would help achieve these goals.

When it comes to students anywhere, whether in India or America, extracurricular activities always help. We have elective credits and so we do not focus only on academics. Students who struggle with academics are able to cope by developing a positive attitude and enrolling in non-academic classes after school. This way, they are constantly challenging themselves.

Big projects make learning more fun. It is also important not to discriminate between different levels of thinking and types of creativity. There also should be more interaction between students too.

Twelve-year-old Ranjani Anirudhan was the only student representative chosen to represent her school Grapevine Middle School in Dallas, Texas, at the Lead 2021 meeting, which was held to develop a 10-year-plan in her school district.

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