STUDENT REPRESENTATIVE TO THE BOARD

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From Your School Board Representative Jason Potts

A student representative’s role includes voicing students’ viewpoints, concerns, and experiences to the Board of Education. The student representative not only allows board members to gain perspective into a student’s time at school by connecting authored policy to the impact on students, but also furthers student engagement in district issues by strengthening the link between school administration and the student body. This position is critical for board members to maintain a successful understanding of students’ needs and even more so during times of uncertainty. From tackling issues associated with district funding to finding solutions that allowed students to continue school during the Covid-19 pandemic, I, Rohan Gala, feel honored to have served as a student representative on the Howard-Suamico School District’s Board of Education for two years.

Being appointed in 2020 and serving my first term during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic was the first of many learning experiences. During this time, the Board of Education pivoted from the traditional school day to a hybrid model that allowed students to attend in-person classes while also limiting the potential spread of the Covid-19 virus. This experience taught me the importance of accurate statistical figures that quantify problems but also provide support for solutions. The use of credible sources provided the underlying foundation for discussions regarding the effects of Covid-19 while also considering the social and emotional health of students through parent testimonials. This intersection between statistical data and anecdotal information allowed us to balance an in-person learning environment while also reducing Covid-19 cases. By listening to board members discuss possible ways to contain the spread of Covid-19 while simultaneously enacting policy that served the best interest of students and teachers, I was able to observe the dedication and diligence the Howard-Suamico School District has when dealing with complex issues.

Another prominent issue the Howard-Suamico School District manages is funding school improvements. The HSSD Board of Education assembled a referendum task force which I was lucky to be a part of to address issues associated with aging school buildings. By collectively tackling concerns, members of this task force were able to create a successful proposal that funded capital improvements within the district while limiting the financial burden on community members. This referendum process not only reinforced my belief that community members and community involvement is an essential pillar in creating a quality education system but also showed me the importance of understanding the impact of my actions.

Overall, my position as the student representative has given me a tremendous opportunity to expand my qualities as a leader and learn more about the educational system that has given me so much. Seeing the positive changes occurring within the district due to the actions of board members and district administration empowers me to look at my future and realize the potential impact I can have on my community.

Lastly, I want to express my deepest gratitude for this incredible opportunity to serve as the student representative to the Howard-Suamico Board of Education. My two year term has helped shape my future plans and has taught me invaluable lessons. I would like to thank all board members for their guidance as I transitioned into the role of student representative and for always having answers to any of my questions. I would also like to thank Mr. Brian Nicol, the HSSD Director of Communications, for his tips on how to communicate effectively in an interview setting. Finally, I would like to thank Mr. Damian LaCroix, Superintendent, for offering me incredible opportunities to expand my communication skills and always helping operationalize my community impact ideas.

For more information about the Howard-Suamico School District, please visit our website at www.hssdschools.org or for additional information regarding this article, contact school board student representative Rohan Gala, galaroha@hssdschools.org.