The Scoop on SET Senate

A group of SET High students chat while sitting in chairs in a circle with other students milling around behind them.

The Scoop on SET Senate

We want more microwaves! We want off-campus lunch privileges! We want…cursive?

At the School for Entrepreneurship and Technology (SET), a tuition-free 9th-12th grade high school in San Diego, we love it when our students take an idea and run with it. Take our SET Senate for example. When senior Austin Strahm was looking for a new extracurricular activity, SET founder and principal, Dr. Neil McCurdy, mentioned the idea of a SET Senate and Austin took it and made it his own. 

What is SET Senate?

At our tuition-free 9th-12th grade school, students are encouraged to join one of our unique clubs or even create a club if you have a passion you want to share. Austin liked the idea of having a medium for the student body to communicate with SET’s administration and came up with a framework for a student senate. While he didn’t wear a fun white wig and go out and publish pamphlets declaring his vision, he did manage to come up with 15 pages of material to share with students on campus. Nine of these students joined him to form a ten person senate, representing a variety of groups on campus: 

  • One for 9th, 10th, 11th and 12th grades
  • STEM (Science Technology Engineering Math)
  • Language Arts
  • Interest Clubs
  • Athletics
  • Social (ASB)
  • VAPA (Visual and Performing Arts)


Feeding off the synergy of the group’s ideas, the senators reconvene after school to debate the ideas offered by their “constituents” and convince the others that their ideas should be forwarded to administration. Should juniors, like seniors, get off-campus lunch privileges? Should cursive be reintroduced into the curriculum? There is a vote and then a proposal is formed to present the idea and implementation, complete with a budget if necessary! 

Already this year, SET High gained more tables and microwaves for food preparation and an electric kettle for the dedicated ramen enthusiasts. Small changes but great impact- SET High students are heard!

Connections Make Community

The SET Senate is another example of how connected the students and staff are: in this case, Dr. McCurdy. He holds the veto power so students have to work together to come up with ideas that will get a green light from him. Our students work together, thinking critically and creatively about how to get a resolution passed. 

One senator debates one side of the issue (cursive improves fine motor skills! Juniors are responsible!) while another debates the other side (who can read cursive anymore? Are Juniors responsible?). They think about what stipulations might be necessary (stellar attendance for juniors to go off-campus) before presenting it to Dr. McCurdy. Does he feel burdened by the weight of these requests? Absolutely not because he wants a safe school environment where students feel free to express their disagreements and also come together to find a solution that works (to go off campus, everyone needs to have parent permission and no tardies). 

Does that mean everything gets passed? Well, juniors now have the opportunity to eat lunch off-campus but cursive? Not as likely (sorry cursive), although Dr. McCurdy makes sure he is transparent with our students about his decisions for this and everything on campus. And, as an advantage of being a stand alone charter school, decisions can be implemented very quickly – no waiting around for a bigger bureaucracy to weigh in with their opinion. After all, you are so ready to get to In-N-Out for lunch!

Ready to have a high school experience where your voice matters? Come spend the day at SET High and let us show you how satisfying 9th-12th grade can be. Enrolling now!

About SET High 

SET High offers each student individual attention from multi-talented, highly qualified  teachers. Students build a healthy camaraderie with classmates inside an intellectually rigorous environment that brings out their talents and personality, helping them develop their individual character and direction in life. With a wide variety of electives, flexible scheduling, dual enrollment college classes and more — our students regularly exceed their academic and personal expectations. Enroll now