A younger face will join Germantown’s Board of Education as the board approved a policy Tuesday, July 27, adding a high school student in an advisory position.
Germantown Municipal School District board members have discussed adding a student in a non-voting advisory role many times since the district’s inception, but when the pandemic hit the topic was set aside.
In early 2021, the matter was again brought forward and desired by the board. Chairman Amy Eoff looked at policies across the nation to help guide GMSD’s policy and reflect the board’s hopes.The second of two required readings occurred Tuesday. The item was placed on the consent agenda and passed without objection.
School board member Angela Griffith raised the issue multiple times after hearing about it during her 2018 campaign. While attending statewide school board conferences, she heard of other districts’ successes with the student role.
“We are elected by adults to serve children,” Griffith said by phone, Thursday. “All the issues policy related, fiscally related, directly impacts the students. … I think their perspective is important for a lot of reasons.”
In April, the board participated in the National School Board Association convention and a reoccurring theme was finding a way to include student voice.
Griffith said the opportunity provides community engagement, student leadership and service opportunities.
“When people feel called to represent others it’s not about putting something on your resume,” Griffith said. “It’s a question of ‘Are you willing to sacrifice and serve?’”
The Houston High School principal will select a junior or senior “in good standing” for a one-year term and must maintain the status during the term.The student will serve as a representative of the student body and may provide a report highlighting activities in the district.
“I hope we continue to get students and see it as an opportunity to participate on behalf of themselves and the student body,” Griffith said.
The selected individual may be appointed to board committees and also attend some special events after consultation with the chairman.
The student is expected to attend monthly work sessions and business meetings, and will receive appropriate materials for review. The student should come prepared to contribute to board discussions with insight. The pupil should also act and dress appropriately in line with the other board members and the code of ethics.
At the end of the school year, the individual must provide a report about their year of service and provide information to enhance the experience for future students.
The board wants to gain a variety of perspectives, so children of GMSD staff and board members are not preferred for the position.
Student board representatives will not vote on matters or make motions. They will not attend executive sessions, hold board offices or receive materials containing confidential matter such as legal strategy, personnel issues or student discipline.
If the student cannot satisfactorily fulfill the role, the board may remove the member and another student may be selected by the principal.