On May 22, 2008 the Pennsylvania State Board of Education (SBE) amended their bylaws to add one nonvoting senior student member and one nonvoting junior student member. Since September 2009, two high school students have served on the SBE. For the past year, those students have been senior Anne Griffith from Radnor High School and junior Eva Rankin from Upper St. Clair High School. These SBE positions have provided public school students with an unprecedented opportunity in Pennsylvania to interact with the twenty-two adult Board members and have helped shape long-term education policy for the 1.8 million K-12 students in our state and the 680,000 students impacted by our state system of higher education.
The Pennsylvania Association of Student Councils (PASC) was first charged with the responsibility of recommending two students to hold these positions for the 2008-2009 school year. They are currently accepting applications for our new junior student representative.
Current 10th grade students (Class of 2023) enrolled in public high schools in Pennsylvania are eligible to apply for this position. The introductory letter, commitment forms and application can be found here. Applications are now due back on March 22nd, 2021. The application deadline has been updated to ensure that all eligible students are aware of the application. Interviews will be conducted virtually. One student will be selected for a two-year term at that time.
The student selected will be expected to attend each meeting of the SBE. The commitment to attend each and every one of these meetings is extremely important. In addition, the student must commit to board “homework” between meetings which will include the reading of SBE reports and frequent communication with other students in the state on SBE issues. This communication can take the form of social media interaction as well as through information and surveys shared through PASC by region representatives.
The student selected for this program will also be a voting member of the PASC Executive Board and will be asked to attend the PASC State Conference to represent students and the SBE. PASC will provide training and conference attendance for the students selected as well as transportation to PASC events and board meetings at PASC expense. Outside of this support, the SBE’s student leadership program is supported entirely through private grant funds made available by Highmark. PASC and the board appreciate Highmark’s generosity in making this leadership opportunity available to high school juniors and seniors across the commonwealth. Through its grant funds, the SBE will pay for travel to SBE meetings and will provide hotel accommodations for meetings held in Harrisburg or at other designed locations within the state consistent with state travel policies. Minor students are required to have a parent or guardian accompany them during travel to and from board meetings.