“It was very difficult to choose the members of the Student Advisory Council because there were so many great applications,” Barge said in a press release. “I’m excited about working with this group of students because I know they will be prepared to share their ideas to make education work for all students.”
Students were chosen based on the strength of an essay written in the application process. This year’s theme was to have students explain how they would improve education for all students.
“I talked about if [the education system] could provide grants for field trips and more hands-on learning in the classroom, that would make education work for all students, because a lot of students [benefit] from observation learning,” Hall, a sophomore, said.
Hopper, a junior, was asked to return to the council after serving this past year.
“My whole [essay] theme was ... if we could provide an equal number of days in each school district,” Hopper said. “I feel it could almost bring student bodies closer together if we have the same breaks, the same standards, the same curriculum and equalize it all.”
Hall said he’s excited to learn more about the education system through working with the council.
“I would like to learn how to make education work for all students and just learn about how all of education works here in Georgia, how we choose our standards, and just learn how our education is shaped, see how from the top the decisions [leaders] make affect us down here as students,” Hall said.
According to a press release, “As members of the council, students will meet two times throughout the school year to advise Barge on how state policies are having an impact in the classroom. The Student Advisory Council will also discuss other education-related issues and will serve as the superintendent’s ambassadors in their respective schools.”
Principal Steven Butler said having two students selected to serve on the council not only is a reflection of the school, but of the community as well. He said as an educator it’s important to hear from the students who ultimately are affected by the decisions made by education leaders.
“I’m thankful to Dr. Barge for allowing us to have this representation on the panel,” Butler said. “Anytime you can have your voice in a forum like that [it is helpful] ... [Hall and Hopper] are going to be representing their classmates and their school.”
More than 750 students from 121 districts applied to be a member of the Student Advisory Council and answered essay questions. Students were chosen based on the strength of their essay answers.
“The Student Advisory Council allows me to hear directly from students in our schools and discuss major initiatives with them,” Barge said. “The council also gives students the opportunity to share with me their ideas and concerns, which we can use to shape future state policies.”
The first meeting of the Student Advisory Council will be held Nov. 28 at the state Department of Education offices in Atlanta.