Josie Shaffer - STUDENT BOARD MEMBER

Report to the Board of Education of Baltimore County From the Student Member of the Board

January 9, 2018

Good evening and happy 2018! I hope everyone had a restful break and is ready to tackle the end of second quarter. Before the break, I had the opportunity to visit Pinewood Elementary School to read "The Night I Followed the Dog" to Ms. Rowe's terrific third graders. I am so glad I had the opportunity to visit and tour Pinewood to see all the amazing things that are going on in the school. It was fascinating to see how devices are used in an elementary school classroom: in a fifth-grade art class, students used their device to look at an artist's body of work so they can copy their style in their own artwork. I remember when I had art in fifth grade, my classmates and I would fight over art books, and if you were too slow or last in line you would be stuck with a book you didn't like. I would like to thank Pinewood for inviting me to read to their students, I had a great time!

Three days ago marked six months since I was sworn in as Student Member of the Board of Education. I am so grateful for the opportunity to represent 113,000 students, meeting so many bright students and teachers along the way. You never know how large the county is until you travel all around it. I enjoy every school visit I attend, each school has such a different climate than my own, and I am able to get a better grasp on how to represent our students properly.

I have already learned so much from being on the board, and I am thankful for my fellow board members and staff for being kind to me, and I would like to apologize for talking about parallel parking so much. I am thankful for this experience and as we begin the third quarter I can't wait to visit more schools and be more vocal about student issues.

So, I am super excited to announce that it is that time of the year again: applications to be the Student Member of the Board of Education for the 2018-19 school year will be released on February 2nd! Being SMOB has given me a chance to experience Baltimore County in a completely different way, but I would not be seated here if I didn't have teachers and staff looking out for me. This time last year, applying for SMOB was not on my mind: I was preoccupied with midterms and the start of my internship. My guidance counselor pulled me out of class one day and asked me if I was thinking about applying, that was the first moment that I realized I had the potential to be SMOB.

There are students in our system right now who have the potential to be an amazing student board member, but maybe are afraid to take a chance and apply. Our teachers know us best, and just knowing that they believe in us goes a long way. I encourage teachers and staff to look out for the students in their buildings that they believe could be an amazing board member and help them take the leap of faith and apply. The student voice is an important tool for the board of education, and I know we will have amazing candidates this year!! Rising juniors and seniors can apply for SMOB from February 2nd to the 16th, and we will accept two applications per school! I am so excited to begin the SMOB process, and will keep everyone updated.

Thank you.

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