Manahan institutes RSVP forums

New superintendent solicits student input and feedback


Ezra Bacon-Gershman

At the Welcome Assembly, Snoqualmie Valley School District Superintendent Rob Manahan addresses the student body.

Sam Husemann, Staff Reporter

On Oct. 3 at power hour, the Superintendent hosted the first of his new RSVP forums in the auditorium.

“RSVP stands for ‘respecting student voices and perspectives,’” Superintendent Dr. Robert Manahan said, “It’s really just a forum where I can have the opportunity to touch base with those individuals who are most impacted and affected by what we do as a school board.”

Manahan announced the program to students during the welcome back assembly on Aug. 31. It is planned to occur weekly at Power Hour for students at the main campus.

“I’m going to meet monthly with the freshmen as well, I think,” he said, “My first meeting with them is on Oct. 10.”

RSVP is an event sponsored by the Mount Si ASB.

“ASB has partnered with Dr. Manahan to organize and make this event happen.” ASB President Chirag Vedullapalli said. “One of our goals as an ASB this year was to gather more student voice so when we make decisions we are more informed. This RSVP event will help us achieve those goals.”

The question topics will be predetermined at most RSVPs.

“We are prepared with a few topics including school safety, mental health, construction progress, etc.,” Vedullapalli said, “but there will be meetings where it is up to the students to choose their own topics and bring questions.”

Manahan agreed and said that “Mostly it’s about just general topics, so we might meet with a specific group of individuals —  so maybe we meet with the music students … and just ask general questions around what’s working, what isn’t working, what changes would you like to see, how could we do things differently —  to help students feel more comfortable and more successful in school.”

Students appear to be reacting warmly to the idea too.

“I think it’s a great idea for the school board to connect with the students, and for the high school to figure out what to do.” said sophomore Lindsay Flanagan. “Overall [it’s] just a good way to get information.”

There is also an interesting backstory to how RSVP came to be.

“I had actually stolen it from the Vancouver Superintendent,” Manahan said, “I did it in Chelan, I did it in Peninsula School District when I was superintendent in those districts, and I thought I would bring it here too.”

RSVP also helps connect the school district with students and their needs.

“It’s a great way of connecting with kids, and when we make policy proposals and procedures, sometimes we don’t understand how that impacts kids in the trenches, right?” Manahan said. “So, those are some of the reasons we’re doing that [RSVP].”

RSVP will be held about once a week during power hour in the auditorium. All students are welcomed and encouraged to participate. So répondez, s’il vous plaît! Even if that’s not what it stands for here.