By Kim Walter - firstname.lastname@example.org
The Warren County school board is considering the creation of Student Advisory Councils at the county's two high schools.
The board plans to get the idea and other information out to school administrators in the next few days, and Warren County and Skyline high school students will be surveyed to determine interest in forming the council.
Board member Joanne Cherefko said she heard about the council two years ago when she attended the Virginia School Board Association conference. The board has looked into Roanoke County's Student Advisory Council to gather important elements and get a better idea of how it might be implemented in Warren County.
In Roanoke County, according to the school district's website, the students on the council "work cooperatively to improve the education and environment in all [schools], and to aid in the communication among the students, the school administration, the school board and the community."
A memo will be sent out to principals at both high schools in Warren County and will explain the group and its role in forming the council, Cherefko said. Principals and teachers will be asked to nominate several students from each grade level, 8th through 12th. Following the nominations, peers of those students will vote to decide the final Student Advisory Council.
The council would meet once a month and discuss important school topics. Members can also allow students who are not a member of the council to speak about additional issues.
A representative role will be filled by one or a few seniors in the council, and they will be responsible for attending as many school board meetings as possible and providing a report to board members. They may also be asked to participate in discussions on topics pertaining to students and school life. Council members also would be expected to attend a few school board meetings a year, as well as certain school events.
The council could also form smaller committees if necessary.
Cherefko said council members will meet regularly with principals and other school administrators to "discuss issues and situations important to them."
Council members and representatives would not be able to vote during a school board meeting or participate in a closed section, if the local school board follows the guidelines laid out by Roanoke County.
"Our kids have some great ideas," Cherefko said. "I'm just hoping there's interest in forming a council."
Students also would benefit from participation through expansion of leadership and communication skills, and it couldn't hurt to add to a college application, she added.
"The big goal here is opening up the communication ... between students, parents, and school staff," Cherefko said. "We want students and the community involved in the whole communication process."
Cherefko said students most likely will see the surveys next week, given that their principals are on board with the idea.