Josie Shaffer - STUDENT BOARD MEMBER

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

Student Board Member

Student Member of the Board Message
Student Member of the Board Message
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May 8, 2018

Good evening, and happy Tuesday!

I can’t believe that it is already May and my time as Student Member of the Board and as a BCPS student is coming to a close. May has already been an emotional month: decision day was last week, and as proud as I was to see BCPS seniors wearing their college shirts, it was weird to see my peers who I have known for thirteen years wear different shirts for colleges that were in different states. As thousands of students prepare to graduate, I also have started to reflect on how Baltimore County Public schools has prepared me.

Although I still have two meetings left, I would like to say some thank yous. I would like to thank BCPS TV for allowing me to run around the county and film “On the Move with Josie.” My goal for this show was to highlight the fact that learning does not end after last period. We have so many amazing clubs around Baltimore County, including Student Government Association, Key Club, National Honor Society, and also amazing clubs that students created and lead.

I have met promising student leaders through filming “On the Move.” Lauren from the Young Engineers Club is a role model for the future of women in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics). She is the founder and president of the club and also won every round of the Career and Technology Education Shark Tank. The girls from the Rising Women Club created their own business! How many people can say they did that as sophomores in high school? Sofia and Sophie from the Knit for the Needy episode took their passion for knitting and put it to great use by making hats and scarfs that they donate to homeless shelters. And finally, our latest episode showcased the Lyons Mill Engineering Squad, a club of elementary students who already know how to program robots and have competed in statewide and national robotic competitions. I hope students, teachers, and parents watch the show and are inspired to create clubs similar to these in their own schools.

I am so grateful to BCPS TV for letting me have the opportunity to do this, and especially grateful to Mr. Daylan for being a great cameraman and editor. If you want to check out “On the Move with Josie,” you can see them on the BCPS Vimeo page.

I emceed the 2018 Teacher and Principal of the Year Ceremony two weeks ago. It was a great event that honored principals and teachers from across the county. Not only do teachers help us master the skills we need to be good students and citizens, they also help us uncover passions and are people we can always count on. That’s why it was so impactful that a student introduced each teacher of the year finalist. Katelin, Ryan, Ariana, Wilson, Matt, and Lewawit did a fantastic job introducing their teachers, and congratulations again to Teacher of the Year Mr. Penn, and Principals of the Year, Ms. Thomas, and Dr. Taylor.

I also attended the Career and Technology Education (CTE) Student Recognition Ceremony. It was really cool to see seniors earning graduation cords from their hard work in CTE classes. CTE programs allow students to experience work-based learning and let students acquire real world skills that they can use after graduation. I have been in Interactive Media Production, a CTE program at Pikesville High, since sophomore year and it is easily my favorite class. By senior year, I learned how to code websites, and even coded my own portfolio, I’ve made vector art, videos, flash games, I’ve learned how to work with a client, and I am an Adobe Certified Associate. CTE is such an important program because it allows students to find something that interests them that doesn’t have to be a core class, and allows them to get college and industry credit.

Finally, I attended my last ever Baltimore County Student Councils’ General Assembly and Bull Roast. I discovered BCSC after I was elected as SMOB, but I wish my school was active in it earlier. I have made so many friends in this short year, and I have learned vital leadership skills that I will take with me after graduation. Congratulations to Ruben who was elected BCSC president, and to Angela and Samantha for their re-election as 1st and 2nd Vice President. BCSC allows students to have a voice on the county level, and I hope to see them reach out to schools that are not as active in the future to make sure that every student across the different zones is represented.

I was elected to be the Student Member of the Board for 113,000 students last March, and I hope I made them proud. It was scary to be in this board room for the first time, unsure if my voice would be taken seriously, or if it would be lost during the meetings. But my advice to the next SMOB and all those who come after her is to never be afraid to speak up. Board meetings can get a little wild sometimes, but the student voice needs to be heard when we make decisions on policies and contracts.

I will be graduating in a two weeks and will be attending the University of Maryland College Park to major in Government and Politics with a minor in Geographic Sciences in the fall, but I will always be a member of Team BCPS, and I am grateful to my teachers, the board, and central office staff for preparing me for not only graduation, but whatever comes next.

Thank you.

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