The Board of Education Welcomes Two New Student Board Representatives and One Alternate for the 2023-2024 School Year
At its September 21st Action Meeting, the Board of Education will welcome and officially appoint De’Naiza Watson and Cavance Snaith as the Student Board Representatives and Doha Gassem as an Alternate for the 2023-2024 school year. In this advisory role, they will represent the interests of their peers and advise the Board on the impact of Board policies on students during monthly action meetings. They will also share Board deliberations and actions with the student body, meet with student groups and initiate important work, such as registering students to vote.
Ms. Watson, a junior at Science Leadership Academy, is concerned about racial stereotypes and microaggressions in the classroom and believes that school communities can work together to ensure that students of color are not undermined and overlooked. “Speaking up about issues and letting people know how their actions make others feel can help, especially in classroom-like settings,” Ms. Watson says.
Mr. Snaith, a junior at Constitution High School, leads the Voter Registration Club at his school and would like to encourage District schools to register all eligible students to vote so that leaders will take students seriously. “It is important to me to motivate Philadelphia youth to make informed decisions through voting based on their personal experiences and advocating for the things they are most passionate about,” Mr. Snaith said.
Ms. Gassem, a junior at Academy of Palumbo, is deeply concerned about student mental health and advocates for more attention and action to help all students manage their mental health effectively. “I am currently working to bring meaningful action within my school through my website and resources,” Ms. Gassem said, adding, “I think it is crucial to have support such as mental health workshops, peer support groups and accessible counseling services to create a more safe and comforting environment for students.”
“We welcome our new student representatives and look forward to working with them and hearing student voices weigh in on important issues that impact our diverse student body,” said Board Member Sarah-Ashley Andrews, who serves as the Board Liaison to the student representatives. “We value our students’ perspectives and the insights they share with us, as they advocate for their peers to have equitable educational opportunities.”
To become a Student Board Representative, students in District or charter schools must submit an application to the Office of Student Support Services in the spring along with a current school transcript and two reference letters. Selected applicants, who must be in eleventh or twelfth grade during their term, are then interviewed by a committee and then the Superintendent who recommends three students to the Board of Education.