A group of approximately a hundred students with the common goal of inspiring change to represent high schools from all around Montgomery County gathered on Wednesday, June 5, and were officially sworn in as the 2019-2020 MCR Executive Board. As MCR president Pranav Tadikonda led the group in the swearing in ceremony, these students pledged to uphold the strong legacy that MCR has set over the past years, continuing to advocate and represent the MCPS student body, county wide.
Prior to the swearing in of the new MCR members, standard meeting procedures were reviewed, and Tadikonda briefed the new board on parliamentary procedures. After the meeting agenda was approved by Executive Board members, Tadikonda introduced the rest of the MCR officers; vice president Emnet Kashay, treasurer Robert Wachen, and secretary Simon Debesai.
After officer introductions and the swearing of new members, MCJC vice president, Ali Shalabi, gave an update of recent MCJC happenings. According to Shalabi, MCJC has held their Executive Board interviews, and were preparing for their first meeting on June 10.
Student Member of the Board [of Education] Nate Tinbite then proceeded to give his SMOB Report, quickly briefing the board on his recent actions aimed to involve and inform more students countywide about ways they can become involved in advocating for their student bodies. Tinbite had sent an email to middle and high school students school emails earlier that day, on June 5, spreading the word about his SMOB advisory council, which will be accepting applications until July 1.
Following Tinbite, president of the Montgomery County Council of Parent Teacher Associations, Ms. Lynn Harris, gave an update and summary of the MCCPTA’s wish to partner with MCR and receive input from the students of Montgomery County. The MCCPTA is in the process of brainstorming common initiatives for MCR and the MCCPTA, and are currently looking for a student to fill the position of MCR Liaison for their board. The MCCPTA has already begun planning for a LGBTQ forum, in addition to other programs and initiatives.
Following some entertaining energizers led by chief of staff Nick Asante, Ms. Stacey Kopnitsky from the Department of Certification and Staffing of MCPS, a unit of the Human Resources office, spoke about the status of substitute teachers in MCPS. MCPS pays substitute teachers the highest out of surrounding counties, and also has the highest educational requirements. Possibly as a result, 12% of the 4,000 substitute positions go unfilled monthly, and it is imperative that students give feedback to improve the substitute teacher regulations.
The Executive Board members then divided into their different departments and got to know fellow department members, and brainstormed ideas for the upcoming year. After coming back together, members from the respective departments shared their goals and thoughts of advocacy for the new term.
The last piece of business was addressed by MCR’s advisor, Mrs. Shella Cherry. Mrs. Cherry shared with the group the importance of bringing information from MCR meetings back to individual school SGA’s, and making sure school advisors are informed about general assemblies. Mrs. Cherry also informed that MCR and it’s middle school counterpart MCJC, will be working together this year to establish leadership training for 4th and 5th graders around the county.
Before the meeting was adjourned, members enjoyed ice cream while mingling and socializing, as it is so important for the members of MCR to get to know each other. MCR is looking forward to a great year, and as vice president Emnet Kashay says, “we’re hoping that they [the Executive Board] bring new, fresh ideas on how to take our advocacy and make it applicable to the average student,” so the students of Montgomery County can have as best a year as possible.