Alexandria City School Board Appoints Student Liaisons to the Board
A One-Year Term Kicks Off Today for a Rising Junior and Senior from T.C. Williams High School
Alexandria, Va. - Today marked the beginning of a one-year term for two new student non-voting members of the Alexandria City School Board. In early June, the board voted to appoint two student liaisons, who competed for the slots through an application and interview process. Due to their promising credentials, Charlotte Clinger, a rising senior, and Edom Tesfa, a rising junior, were chosen from a group of nine potential student candidates to take on this major commitment.
Including students as non-voting members of the school board will create a direct link between Alexandria City Public Schools (ACPS) students and the elected body that governs them. The approval of School Board Policy BBBB and BBBB-R (http://www.acps.k12.va.us/board/manual/bbbb-r.pdf) established regulations supporting the appointment of student liaisons to the school board. The appointments reflect the long-held consensus that the opinions and concerns of the students enrolled in ACPS are important to the school board and they should be a welcome voice at meetings. Clinger and Tesfa were vetted for this position by members of the Superintendent's Student Advisory Group.
"We are extremely proud of these students for seeking to commit themselves to this position, and we look forward to their thoughtful contributions and regular reports at our board meetings," said School Board Chairman Sheryl Gorsuch. "This relationship will enable the student body to have input into the policies and direction of the school division."
The establishment of these positions will provide T.C. Williams High School students the opportunity to serve their community and to gain a more thorough understanding of city and school governance and its role in creating an effective learning environment for every child in Alexandria.
"We are so fortunate in ACPS to have many wonderful students who care not only about doing well academically, but also about serving the community," said Superintendent Morton Sherman. "Our new student liaisons to the school board represent the best of our school division. Charlotte and Edom are remarkable young people with strong voices on behalf of their classmates. I am looking forward to learning from them and working with them on behalf of all of the students in ACPS."
The Student Advisory Group is in its third year and is made up of 35 to 40 students who meet regularly. The Advisory Group is open to 10th-12th-grade students who can apply at the end of their 9th-grade year at the T.C. Williams High School Minnie Howard Campus or anytime thereafter. The group is headed by Minnie Howard Assistant Principal Michael Cohen and T.C. Williams Social Studies Department Chair Molly Frietag. A new addition is Dr. Margee Walsh, executive director for policy development, who is in her first year working with the group.
The student liaisons will learn how to write and present policies. They are expected to attend all regular, open meetings and complete assignments for research and data collection when requested by the school board. However, the liaisons will not be given any confidential information concerning the workings of the school division, nor will they be able to vote. ACPS is one of many public school divisions in Virginia that have student liaisons to the school board, including those in Loudoun and Fairfax counties.
The student liaisons represent not only T.C. Williams but the entire ACPS student body and hope to broaden parent awareness by making themselves accessible to all students. The liaisons will encourage their fellow students to make contact and share their concerns and opinions. The liaisons will work toward becoming a connection between secondary and elementary students to provide a meaningful student voice to school board discussions and decisions.