ERIC Number: EJ759488
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2005-Apr-20
Reference Count: N/A
Leading the Way
Hurst, Marianne D.
Education Week, v24 n32 p24, 26-27 Apr 2005
Sophia Njaa, a senior at Maine's Portland High and a student representative on the district's school board, is one of a growing contingent of students across the country who are becoming more involved in school decision making through youth-empowerment programs. Her school board seat was established in 2004 through a collaborative effort between the Portland school board and Youthink, a local grantmaking foundation started in 2003 and run by students who empower their peers by funding student-proposed community projects. Youthink's goal is to promote adult awareness of youth perspectives and to encourage students who might not normally serve as student leaders to let their opinions on community issues be heard. As a result of the collaborative, one student from each of the district's two high schools is now elected annually to the school board. They can speak during board debates, and cast symbolic votes on policy issues. Even without full voting power, Njaa says, having the adult board members listen and consider student opinions is a big deal. Her experience of serving on the board is representative of a growing nationwide push by many organizations--such as the Youth Innovation Fund, an initiative created by the National Service-Learning Partnership, a New York City-based nonprofit organization, through a five-year, $5 million grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation--to get students more directly involved in school and community issues.
Descriptors: Student Attitudes, Opinions, Student Leadership, Nonprofit Organizations, Legislators, Boards of Education, Student Empowerment
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Maine