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Syracuse STEM at Blodgett Students Empowered through Student Administrator Roles

This is a photo of Syracuse STEM at Blodgett Principal Harry Valentin standing with two student administrators, each holding their own ID badge, in front of the school logo hanging on a wall.“Hello, students! Let’s make sure we remember to meet our expectations for the day!”
Each morning, Gianny Serrano makes an off-the-cuff announcement to the Syracuse STEM at Blodgett building via the school’s loudspeakers.
Gianny isn’t a staff member, though – he’s an 8th grade student – and the school’s Student Assistant Principal!
For the second year, STEM at Blodgett Principal Harry Valentin has selected student leaders to serve as the school’s Student Assistant Principal and Student Assistant Bus Coordinator. The student administrators each have their own ID badge with their name and title, and they even have their own “mini office” within the principal’s office.
At dismissal each day, 7th grade student Carlos stands at the dismissal doors of the school with a  walkie talkie. He’ll report back to the main office, “This is Carlos. At the moment, we have seven buses. We’re waiting for bus number 1 and bus number 2.”
Once Carlos notifies school administrators that all buses have arrived, students are dismissed – under the careful watch of Carlos, who stands guard at the doors, reminding students of the importance of adhering to the school’s expectations.
The student administrators also have the opportunity to lead a lunch bunch in the school’s main office, where they are offered quality time with their classmates who may be having a difficult day.
“Carlos used to escalate and get angry so quickly,” Dr. Valentin shared. “Now, he self-regulates, and he can support his classmates who haven’t developed those skills yet. He is a positive role model for the others. The turnaround has been amazing. Gianny is a student in one of our 15:1 classrooms. Now, he is an advocate for all of his classmates and is recognized by the whole school community! He has developed his academic skills, communication skills, and leadership skills. They have both shown so much growth – they have become empowered, and they are now changing the whole school’s mindset.”
Gianny said he now has ambitions of becoming an actual school leader one day.
“It’s not an easy job,” Gianny says of being a Principal. “But I want everyone – teachers and students – to have a fair shake so they can all succeed. As Student Assistant Principal, I welcome students and guests to the building, and I try to cheer everyone up. I feel like I’m changing things and helping to make people happy.”
Carlos said the experience has helped him view leadership in a new way.
“On the first day of school, I had a classmate who was being bullied,” he explained. “I asked him to sit with me. That’s being a leader. When adults let us be leaders, it helps us to be better people. When Dr. Valentin let me take on this job, I started behaving better, and everything changed for me in school. Now, I tell everyone to have a great day as they leave in the afternoon!”
The goal of this opportunity – and others being offered throughout the school – is to help students feel empowered to be positive role models in their school.
Each day, a new student is selected to lead the school’s morning announcements, and new this year, each classroom teacher selects two student leaders to lead classroom transitions. As students change from one classroom to another, a teacher used to escort them in the hallway. This year, student leaders are escorting their peers.
“We’re preparing our scholars for high school,” Dr. Valentin shared. “They should know how to meet expectations without an adult walking next to them… we are showing them that we trust them, and that the accountability is on them. When we see students being leaders – being on time, on task, and leading their classmates – it opens so many possibilities!”
We’re proud of these Syracuse STEM at Blodgett student leaders for being positive role models and showing their classmates what leadership looks like!
Anthony Q. Davis, Superintendent
725 Harrison Street
Syracuse, NY 13210
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