SoundOut is an
expert assistance program focused on promoting
Student Voice and Meaningful Student Involvement
We work with K-12
schools, districts, state and provincial education
agencies, and nonprofit education organizations
across the United States and Canada.
Total Infusion: District Scores 100% on Student Involvement in
(Annapolis, Maryland) - Anne Arundel County sits
on the shores of Chesapeake Bay, halfway in between Baltimore and
Washington, DC. According the county government website, Anne
Arundel is a diverse, growing area, measuring up to the challenges of
being a historic mid-Atlantic city with the demands of modern times.
One of the most exciting measures of success comes from the county's
education agency (which operates on the same level as districts do in
According to Sue Hannahs, director of the Anne
Arundel County Public Schools Student Leadership and Involvement
Office, a high school senior has participated as a full-voting member
of the County Board of Education since 1975. This member votes on all
issues, including personnel, curriculum, and more.
In a recent
article by Wendy Lesko of Youth Activism Project, several successes of the student member are detailed.
They include the McGill Plan, named after the student board member who
proposed modifying the bus schedule during high school mid-term and
final exams. This move saves the district $100,000 annually.
A past report cited several keys to how this
student's role is successful. They include:
Common understanding of the student's role.
Students and educators understand that the student member is not
the student representative; instead, they are someone who will
provide the viewpoint of a student in school matters.
Careful selection of the student member by
other students. The student member is not meant to represent
a submissive or dominating perspective to adults. Instead, they
are to offer something different t already established viewpoints by
adult Board members.
Support from multiple levels of
decision-making. The Maryland State Legislature passed
specific language in 1975 to support the student's role, thus
mandating participation by State Law.
Today student involvement is an accepted - and
expected - part of school decision-making in Anne Arundel County
Public Schools. As well as the district school school board,
students participate on every advisory, curriculum and study
committee. Students sound out on grading policies, alternative
education, and other areas as a matter of procedure. State
mandated School Improvement Teams involve large percentages of
students - as many as 5 students on a 10 person Team.
All of these actions, and many more, make Anne
Arundel County Public Schools a beacon for student involvement in
school decision-making around the nation. I
salute Anne Arundel students and educators, and encourages others to
follow their lead.
For more information...
Contact the Student Leadership & Involvement
Office, Anne Arundel County Public Schools, 2644 Riva Road, Annapolis,
MD 21401 (410)222-5405
SoundOut has worked in more than 100 K-12 schools and districts
across the United States and around the world. Learn more
and for more information