What a good idea by members of Milton’s school board to add a student representative to its ranks, a move they say is designed to get student input into the room and also get youngsters interested and invested in government down the road.
At a time when there are far too many empty spots on election ballots, getting these students in on the ground floor makes a lot of sense. Some Valley schools already have students, including Shikellamy which has a pair.
“What I’m really excited about is the opportunity for our students to be a part of our school at the highest level, to be a part of that board,” Milton Superintendent Dr. John Bickhart said. “We’re really hopeful some of the students considered for this are those who have an interest in this for their future to be a part of the government. It’s going to be pretty neat to have kids at the table when things are being discussed that directly impact them. This is their school, their district.”
The student representative will be a non-voting member of the board. The move, board members said when unanimously approving the measure last week, is designed to “facilitate effective communication and to provide an opportunity for students to participate in school governance.”
When the student representative is seated in September, the idea is for the new member to “convey student sentiment, report on student activities and advise the board on student issues and concerns at meetings.”
According to the National School Boards Association, about 15 percent of the nation’s largest school districts have student representatives. In the Valley, Shikellamy also has student reps who are non-voting members.
Milton does have justifiably strict rules regarding who can be on the board. The new representative must be a junior or senior, maintain at least a B average and “exhibit good citizenship and demonstrate leadership skills,” according to the new policy.
The student will serve either a one- or two-year term. The student representative will begin their term at the July school board meeting following selection, school officials approved.
Getting students engaged in discussions about what happens in their schools is a good idea. Students pursuing this opportunity are more than likely already involved in numerous outlets within the district; they will undoubtedly be able to understand how certain policies, procedures and changes can impact student life.
Hearing their voices makes a lot of sense.
NOTE: Opinions expressed in The Daily Item’s editorials are the consensus of the publisher, top newsroom executives and community members of the editorial board. Today’s was written by Editor William Bowman.