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BOE Student Leader Meeting Recap

On Thursday, December 17, 2020, willing student leaders from across Montgomery County had their annual meeting with Montgomery County’s Board of Education (BOE) and MCPS staff members from the central office, with one caveat – it was completely over Zoom due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Instead of sitting at tables, eating snacks, and rotating around a packed room, event attendees had to navigate breakout rooms, microphone difficulties, and faulty WiFi connections.

At the beginning of the event, the various BOE members, starting with Student Member of the Board Nick Asante, briefly introduced themselves and welcomed the student leaders. The students who registered for the event were then placed in breakout rooms with one to two BOE members, while MCPS staff rotated throughout the breakout rooms to speak about their assigned topic. The four topics focused on were 1) school reopening, 2) the curriculum, technology, and virtual learning, 3) student experience and wellness, and 4) the MCPS anti-racism system audit and School Resource Officer Program.

Students were able to ask questions to the adults present about the county’s existing initiatives and solutions to various problems important to the MCPS student body, in addition to speaking about their experiences and voicing their concerns. Each rotation lasted approximately 25 minutes. During that time, students were able to satisfy their desire to not only speak about their experiences but also to gain insight into countywide decisions.

Many attending students left with a greater understanding of how the county functioned after speaking to those creating change and implementing policies. “I learned that facilitating online school is a lot more complicated than it seems. It requires lots of coordination and patience, planning and execution, and I realized how hard all of that can be on our teachers and administrators. I learned about a new initiative called the MCPS anti-racism audit! With the recent wake of events, it was definitely eye-opening to learn that our county was taking steps to pull back years of inequality by evaluating history curriculums, school procedures, and environments, and learning from students’ experiences with racism in schools firsthand,” said Winston Churchill High School junior Fatemeh Naghavinia.

At the end of the event, participants were able to share what they discussed in smaller groups with all event attendees once they returned to the main meeting room. Students highlighted some of the portions of the event that were most moving to them personally, including the actions MCPS is taking regarding mental health in the virtual environment. All students received student service learning hours for the time that they donated.

Written by Queen Balina

Published by PR Department

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