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Salem-Keizer Public Colleges’ two new pupil advisors to the varsity board hope to bridge a divide they see between the board and the scholars it serves.
Since 2021, board members have appointed a pupil yearly to serve in an advisory, non-voting capability. The pupil should have at the very least one yr of expertise on the district-led pupil fairness committee/pupil advisory committee to use.
This yr was the primary time the board accepted two co-advisors — Raylin Brennan, a senior at Sprague Excessive Faculty, and Isaac McDonald, a senior at West Salem Excessive Faculty.
Brennan and McDonald each have large points they need to advocate for of their new roles. However greater than something, they’re keen about making certain pupil voices and views are heard and thought of because the board makes districtwide choices.
“I am not gonna lie. It appears to be like good on a resume,” Brennan stated. “And my different motive, effectively, … I am queer and whatnot, and all through my total highschool expertise, I have been advocating for LGBTQ college students.”
Brennan, 17, makes use of the nonbinary pronouns zhe/zer/zheir. Zhe stated serving on this position gives extra illustration in Salem-Keizer management for the lesbian, homosexual, bisexual, transgender and queer or questioning neighborhood.
“There’s solely a lot I may do within the positions I used to be in beforehand,” Brennan stated. “And so I assumed if I used to be a pupil advisor that might give me extra energy to do extra issues to assist extra college students.”
McDonald, 17, ran for the place, partially, to provide again to the neighborhood he is grown up in his complete life. However he additionally has expertise from West Salem and district advisory teams which have helped him higher join college students with district management.
He hopes their presence on the board will assist focus discussions on college students.
“If I had been watching (our) first assembly, I’d have been shocked as a result of it looks as if the varsity board (is) pretty indifferent from … the truth of scholars,” McDonald stated. Bringing the co-advisors onto the board, he stated, is “actually bringing any person who is aware of the reside standing of the colleges.”
“We’re right here for our college students,” he stated, “and we deliver them to the desk.”
Utilizing pupil voices to unravel a district ‘disconnect’
Brennan stated it is shocking what number of college students do not know who Superintendent Christy Perry is or what the varsity board does.
“Between the varsity board and the precise district, there is a disconnect,” zhe stated, including pupil advisors on the varsity board are vital for the reason that board makes main choices that impression them, however the overwhelming majority of scholars aren’t sufficiently old to vote for these elected leaders.
Brennan and McDonald agreed there are additionally misconceptions about college students.
Brennan stated folks, together with kids, will pay attention extra while you speak to them as equals. Zhe additionally stated the notion that some college students will not be as hard-working as others usually is not true.
“These college students are working simply as arduous as all people else, regardless that they might not have the identical grades,” zhe stated. “We have to acknowledge their arduous work.”
McDonald agreed, saying a number of the issues coming from college students are a mirrored image of their lives outdoors college.
“It may be very easy accountable sure college students for sure issues,” he stated. “However do not forget that there are a number of college students who’ve a number of trauma or many different issues … linked to issues outdoors the district.”
McDonald additionally stated dad or mum involvement is essential, however their enter would not at all times signify the views of all college students.
“Each pupil’s state of affairs, each pupil’s path ahead appears to be like very totally different,” he stated.
Tackling the subsequent yr and past
Brennan continues to be studying how one can finest take part. Zhe and McDonald had been formally sworn on this summer season and can serve by way of June.
The co-advisors hope to satisfy with pupil leaders from every Salem-Keizer highschool to listen to about their particular person wants.
Along with their district-wide roles, each college students are closely concerned of their faculties and neighborhood.
Brennan is a part of speech and debate, theater and several other pupil golf equipment. Zhe has dabbled in sports activities through the years as effectively and holds a district internship this yr. After highschool, Brennan hopes to enroll at Chemeketa Neighborhood School earlier than transferring to Western Oregon College in Monmouth to double main in theater and political science and minor in artwork.
“My future aim of what I need to do with my life is sort of everywhere in the board,” Brennan stated. “A part of me desires to enter politics and run for workplace. However then I additionally need to be a professor at a school and both train theater or artwork.”
McDonald is president of West Salem’s environmental membership, a participant in Youth & Authorities and a part of the Spanish Nationwide Honor Society. He is performed soccer for 3 years and lately joined cross nation and observe.
After highschool, he hopes to attend a four-year college within the northeastern United States. McDonald is keen about psychology and fascinated about pursuing one thing within the realm of sociology or neuroscience, however he stated he “hasn’t dominated something out but.”
In case you have an thought for somebody we should always profile for this collection, please e mail Statesman Journal senior information editor Alia Beard Rau at [email protected]
Keep up-to-date with the Salem-Keizer college board and its pupil advisors at salkeiz.k12.or.us/schoolboard.