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For Immediate Release
Friday, April 6, 2007
Contact:Contact: Heidi P. Guarino 781-338-3106

MA To Receive Grant To Enhance Student Communications On BOE Policies

Malden - Massachusetts is one of four states that will receive a grant from the National Association of State Boards of Education (NASBE) to enhance the communications between student Board members and their peers across the Commonwealth. The other states are Maryland, Montana and Tennessee.

The six-month, $2,000 grant is made possible through NASBE's Student Leadership Initiative, funded by the MetLife Foundation, to encourage leadership development among teens. The money will be used here to develop online tools for student discussions on Board of Education topics using MassOne, the Massachusetts Online Network for Education.

A student has sat on the Massachusetts Board of Education since 1972. Trevor Frederick, a senior at Ipswich High School, is this year's student representative on the Massachusetts Board of Education. Frederick was democratically elected by his peers on the statewide Student Advisory Council last spring.

"Everything we do in public education ultimately impacts our students, so it makes perfect sense to have a high school student on our Board," said Education Commissioner David P. Driscoll. "This grant will allow the Student Advisory Council to do more to ensure that students statewide will be kept up to date on policy issues, and have a forum to have their own voices heard."

NASBE Executive Director Brenda Welburn agreed.

"Student members are an important voice in state board of education deliberations," she said. "But once outside the board room, student leaders often have limited opportunities to effectively communicate their opinions, insights, and board decisions to other students-the very constituency most affected by a state board's actions."

The other three states selected proposed alternate communications strategies:

  • Maryland will focus on communicating with the student representatives on local school boards;
  • Montana will administer online surveys to students throughout the state to help provide more feedback on issues of importance. The board will also run radio public service announcements about the role of the student member on the state board of education;
  • Tennessee will establish a student-based weblog of relevant agenda items discussed at state board meetings. In addition, the board will create a new student space within the board's website that includes podcasts and actual interviews with the student board member, as well as a place for students to provide feedback.

There are currently just 13 states that allow students to participate in Board of Education deliberations. Just four of those states - Massachusetts, California, Tennessee and Vermont - allow students to be full voting Board members.

Last Updated: April 6, 2007
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