On Friday, Sept. 14, the KO Board of Trustees joined a group of students for lunch in the library to converse about student life and gain insight on how it can be improved.
Once a year, the Board of Trustees holds a retreat where they are together for most of the day and try to focus on their goals in light of the mission of the school.
This year, they chose to move it to September rather than at the end of the school year, to take into account the transition of new Head of School Tom Dillow.
Treasurer of the Board of Trustees Jean LaTorre said that this year, the group thought that it would be nice to talk to students, so they invited students who were free during G period to join them for lunch.
A group of four students and four trustees sat at each table and shared in depth conversations on various aspects of student life, while enjoying catered fresh salads and sandwiches from Sage Dining.
Vice Chair of the Board of Trustees Bruce Mandell said that the students fostered relevant conversations about what they felt was important. “They asked us a lot of questions,” he said.
Ms. LaTorre said that the group talked about a gamut of different topics. “We talked about things like what sports they did, favorite teachers and advisors, the college process, things about what were on their mind,” she said.
Senior Madi Henry said that she thought it was very interesting to see what the Board of Trustees wanted to hear from the students.
“It was nice to talk to someone who will make changes about the school based off of the students opinions,” she said. “They asked us some questions like, ‘If we could change one thing immediately, what would it be?’ which I thought was a very unique question.”
Senior Kevin Wan said that he learned a lot from the exchange.
“It was a great opportunity to learn about this important part of KO community and how they ensures the school follows the goals it sets,” he said. “I also noticed that many students’ parents are part of the Board of Trustees, which ensures the school’s long term development aligns with student interest.”
Senior Steve Howard said that he thought it was significant that the Board of Trustees addressed all different aspects of KO.
“The Board of Trustees are up high at KO, and a lot of their information is coming from administration, but it is important that they also get information from students to get to know us better as a school,” he said.
Mr. Mandell said that it was vital for the board to interact with the KO student body.
“Everything that the board does is trying to make the school the best place it can be for the students,” he said. “I wanted to know from the students about their experience and what they felt was really great about KO and if they thought there were any opportunities to improve their time here.”
Ms. LaTorre said that students are fundamental to the Board of Trustees’ mission to make KO as great possible.
“I think at the end of the day, the Board of Trustees is really there to support the school,” she said. “And everyone really enjoyed talking to the students and came back pumped up for what is to come.”
Head of School Thomas Dillow said he agreed that this was a vital moment for the school.
“Oftentimes conversations that happen in board rooms are so far away from the actual purpose,” he said. “The students are the reason why we exist as a school, and it is healthy for the trustees to connect with students from time to time.”
Madi said that she really enjoyed having those conversations with the board, as they aligned with the mission of the school.
“It was important for the Board of Trustees to hear what our opinions and thoughts were about the school because they usually do not consult students about changes.”
Kevin said he didn’t really know much about the board and their goals until the lunch.
“It is important to know our voices are being heard by the school,” he said. “It is nice to be more engaged with the community we live in.”