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Colorado Education Highlights

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Student board forms for second year

Monday, August 22, 2016

Image for CDE Ed Highlight about representatives for D49 student board

Peter Hilts, chief education officer, speaks with high school students volunteering for a student board of representatives.

Seventeen students, representing high schools in Falcon School District 49, were nominated by peers to participate in the 2016-17 student board of representatives to provide input to the district’s governing processes.

The students provide important feedback to the district's school board members as they make important decisions, explained Peter Hilts, the district's chief education officer about the student representatives' roles.

“We really do feel your opinion is as valid as our elected directors,” said Hilts, adding that the student board representatives would sit in on school board work sessions, collaborate with their peers and then participate in monthly meetings.

“Ultimately, we’re looking to have a student voice represented — that’s why we’re doing this,” Hilts said.

Last November, the school board members approved the addition of student board representatives in their meetings, as non-voting members. With the board of representatives forming for a second school year, students will continue to take turns attending Board of Education work sessions and monthly meetings.

“We’re a governing body, so every decision has to be made through a consensus — no single one of us can make a final decision,” said Marie LaVere-Wright, school board president, encouraging the student representatives to contact any board member about any issue or concern.

“It’s a positive experience,” said Sydney Schroeder, a senior at Sand Creek High School who is in her second year on the student board.“I know a lot of students at Sand Creek High School felt like their voice wasn’t being heard — even when they’re asked for their input, we weren’t always sure they were using it."

Schroeder says she is asked to speak during monthly Board of Education meetings and feels the input she provides is used in district policy. 

“They’ve encouraged me to speak, not just be there," she said. “This gives me a platform to not only do something for my school, but also myself. It’s a learning experience. It’s building me as a leader and a community member.”

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