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School Board

Student Members

Opportunity to Join Seattle School Board

The Seattle School Board is seeking applications for three student members. The student positions were created under the recently adopted School Board Policy No. 1250, School Board Student Members.  

Students entering their junior or senior year are eligible to apply for a one-year term that will begin August 2022 and conclude at the end of the 2022-23 school year. Applications are due by April 20, 2022.  

About the Seattle School Board

The School Board student members will serve as advisors to the Seattle School Board.  

Like other Washington state public school districts, Seattle Public Schools is governed by a school board responsible for hiring the superintendent, setting district policies and annual budgets, adopting new instructional materials, and serving as community representatives to the district and on behalf of the district.  

The Seattle School Board is an elected body of seven citizens who serve four-year terms and represent geographical regions within the City of Seattle. 

The Role of the School Board Student Member

The Seattle School Board believes students possess valuable insight and should have a paramount voice in the education received from the district and in the decisions made by the board.  

Inspired by the Angela Davis quote that “Walls turned sideways are bridges,” the board recognizes the organizational structure of the district can create a wall between decision makers and the students the district serves.  

The School Board student member positions were created in response to student advocacy about the need to uplift and increase BIPOC student voices within Seattle Public Schools, to work toward a student-centered educational system, and to help students understand the educational system around them and share their perspectives with district leadership. 

Beginning with the 2022-23 school year, the board will annually seat School Board student members to represent student voice through board committees and regular board meetings.  

School Board student members will contribute to discussion by providing student insight and perspective, advocating their positions on district issues or needs, and serving as liaisons between the board and students.  

School Board student members will hold non-voting advisory positions. 

As the inaugural class of student members, students serving during the 2022-23 school year will play an integral role in designing the scope and focus of these positions, advising the board on implementation of newly adopted Board Policy No. 1250, and incorporating student voice into district decision-making.  

Student members will serve as experts through their own experiences and as representatives of their peers. School Board student members are charged with engaging students and student groups for feedback and with carrying forward the diverse perspectives of Seattle Public Schools students.  

School Board student members will have the opportunity to participate in district policy development processes and counsel board directors on the impacts of potential district actions on students. 

Frequently Asked Questions

When is the application due? 

The application is due on Wednesday April 20 by 11:59 p.m.

The application includes this Microsoft Form, a video statement, and two references.  

Who can provide references? 

Your two references can be provided by anyone who can speak to your leadership skills and why you will be a good fit for the student member role. This includes, but is not limited to, school staff, community mentors, or peers.

Family members and current or former Seattle School Board Directors cannot be references.  

When will student members start? 

Student members will start in August 2022 with orientation. Their first required Regular Board Meeting will be the first meeting in September 2022.  

What days of the week and times will student members work? 

School Board meetings occur on weekdays (Monday through Friday). School Board Regular Meetings are twice a month on Wednesdays from 4:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Student members will be required to attend one Regular Meeting a month on average but may choose to attend more.

Board Committee meetings are once a month on Monday through Thursday. Time of day and day of the week depends on each committee, but typically committees are held at either 8-10 a.m. or 4:30-6:30 p.m.  

Why can’t student members vote? 

Student members cannot vote because they are not School Board Directors under state law. Only School Board Directors that have been elected by the registered voters of the school district can vote. Districts of Seattle’s size are also limited by state law to seven School Board Directors. Student members also will not make motions, second motions, hold board office (President, Vice President, Member at Large), or attend Board Executive Sessions and Closed Sessions.  

Student members will have the opportunity to inform Board decisions through discussion in Board Committee and Regular Board Meetings, as well as engage in the policy making process.  

What supports will student members have access to? 

Student members will be paired with a Board Director mentor, as well as a staff mentor to support their work. Student members will also be provided with an orientation and onboarding in August 2022, engage in ongoing training as a part of the School Board’s work, and be connected with other student leaders in the district and across the state to support their leadership development and work as student members.  

How can I get involved if I don’t want to be a student member on the Board? 

If you are interested in participating in leadership opportunities in the district, but don’t want to apply to be a student member on the School Board there are many other opportunities.

You may participate in the student-led selection committee which will recommend who will be appointed to the student member positions by the Board. You can also apply to be on the Superintendent’s Advisory Board.  

Meeting Participation Requirements

Time Commitments  

School Board student members should expect to spend approximately ten (10) hours a month performing their duties. The estimated total hours of board meetings that student board members will attend in a month is six (6) hours.

Student board members can expect to spend approximately four (4) hours a month on additional work, including reviewing meeting materials, meeting with peers, and meeting with support staff and board mentor.

The number of hours a month may vary, but should not exceed 20 hours.  

Committees 

Each School Board student member will be assigned to one of three board committees: the Audit & Finance Committee; Operations Committee; or Student Services Curriculum & Instruction Committee. Committees meet monthly.  

Meeting days and times vary by committee and may occur during school hours. School Board student members will participate in committee discussions and are encouraged to question and communicate their opinions, suggestions, and concerns. 

Student members are encouraged to utilize course credit, service hour, independent study, free periods, or other opportunities, as available and appropriate for their own academic schedule, to modify their class schedule to accommodate committee meeting attendance.  

Regular Board Meetings 

School Board student members will also attend the regular meetings of the School Board of Directors on a roughly once-per-month rotation and will have an opportunity to report on the work of their committee, offer opinions on the motions and resolutions before the board, and communicate other topics of student interest or concern. These meetings are held Wednesdays at 4:15 p.m. at John Stanford Center for Educational Excellence. 

Preparation for Meetings 

School Board student members will be provided agendas and other materials in preparation for meetings and are also encouraged to attend board work sessions and other special meetings of the board. 

Training, Mentorship, and Compensation

Student School board members will receive an orientation from staff and board directors and will be paired with a School Board Director mentor and staff mentor for ongoing support.

Students will also have opportunities to participate in outside training, such as through the Washington State School Directors’ Association. 

Compensation 

School Board student members will receive $17.27/hour for their work in this role, not to exceed 20 hours a month.  

Once selected, student members will need to obtain written permission to work from their parent or guardian.  

In order to be compensated, students will be considered district hourly employees subject to standard onboarding and criminal background check requirements with parent/guardian consent. 

A criminal history does not automatically disqualify an applicant from serving as a School Board student member.  

Who Can Apply?

School Board student members should reflect the impressive diversity of the district and represent a variety of interests, perspectives, and backgrounds. School Board student members should also possess an awareness of challenges and barriers that they or others experience in education and in society. 

Applicants must be a Seattle Public Schools student entering their junior or senior year of high school at the time of selection, on track to graduate, and continue to be enrolled in Seattle Public Schools through the 2022-23 school year.  

While serving, School Board student members must be enrolled in courses that ensure normal progress towards graduation and maintain the number of credits necessary for advancement to the next grade level.  

Selection Committee and Timeline

The School Board Student Member application consists of:  

  1. Written questions through the online application form  
  1. Submission of two written recommendations through an online recommendation form 
  1. Submission of a video statement of no more than three minutes 

Applications will be reviewed for eligibility and then evaluated by a student-led application evaluation committee, and finalists will be invited to participate in interviews. Students participating in the application evaluation committee will select three applicants to recommend to the board. Per School Board Policy No. 1250, the School Board will make the final selection of student members.  

Read more about becoming a member of the selection committee.

Timeline

  • March 21 Application Opens: Students interested in applying or who want to know more about the process are asked to notify the School Board Office using the online form. 
  • March 24, 2022 and April 5, 2022 Information sessions: Teams meetings held for prospective applicants about the role and responsibility of School Board student members and the application process. This session will be recorded and made available to any interested applicants. 
  • April 20 Applications Due: Complete applications consisting of answers to written questions, two recommendations, and a video statement are due. 
  • April 25 – June 3 Student-led Evaluation Committee reviews applications, selects finalists for interviews, holds interviews with finalists.  
  • June 8 Student finalists selected 
  • June 11 School Board considers recommended candidates 
  • June 15 School Board votes to finalize selection of the 2022-23 School Board Student Members 
  • September 2022 First School Board meeting with School Board Student Members 

Apply to be a Student School Board Member

The application includes three (3) parts: written short answer questions, a video, and two recommendations. The application is estimated to take up to one (1) week to fill out.  

Completed applications are due April 20, 2022.  

Recommendations

Two recommendations are required as part of your application.  

Recommendations are due by April 20, 2022.  

The recommendations can be provided by a teacher, principal or other school staff; community member; student leader; organizational leader/mentor; or another individual familiar with your leadership experience. Family members cannot be references.   

If a student organization is supporting your application to serve as a school board student member, please provide a recommendation from a representative/member of the nominating organization as your recommendation. 

Recommendations should be submitted directly by the recommender using this online form  

Please contact the School Board Office if you have any questions about the status of recommendation submissions. 

Video Statement 

Please record a video statement that is 3 minutes or less that introduces yourself and represents who you are in a way that may not be reflected in your written responses: 

For example: share about your passions, goals, hobbies, or talents 

Please contact the School Board Office if you need assistance with recording or submitting your video. The Board Office can share tips on how to record a video using your Seattle Public Schools laptop. 

You can film yourself on a phone, iPad, or laptop. (Instructions below) 

You will upload your video in the application form, so you will need to have it ready when you begin the application submission. 

Video Statement Instructions  

Camera

  • Make sure camera is stable 
  • Always be aware of what is around and behind you 
  • Light matters. Don’t have good room light? You can face a big shaded window for lots of natural light which will make you look great 
  • If it’s too bright, just move back from the window or light source 
  • If you use notes putting them right above or below the camera lens for reference works best. 

Sound 

  • Run a sound check before your recording session 
  • If you can choose a room with an area rug or carpet versus all hardwood floors, the sound will sound better (less echo) 
  • Figure out the best distance to sit back from your device so the picture looks good and the sound is clear 
  • Typically, if you get closer to the device you will get better sound quality 
  • Be aware of noisy fans, TVs, radios or other distractions 
  • Silence your phones and other potential noisemakers 

Application Form with Short Answer Questions 

To submit your application, you will complete the online form.  

To fill out the online application form, you must be logged in to your SPS account.  

The form cannot be saved, so please draft your responses to the short answer questions in a word document and copy and paste into the form.  

Please also have your video file ready to upload in the form before beginning the application.  

To help you prepare before you complete the application, please draft your response to the following questions before you begin your application.  

Application Short Answer Questions 

  1. Why do you want to serve as a School Board Student Member?
    (4-6 sentences) 
  2. Seattle Public Schools’ five-year strategic plan – Seattle Excellence – is about changing broken systems and undoing legacies of racism in public education. The district, including the School Board, is actively working on building an anti-racist educational system – and ensuring students furthest away from educational justice thrive. Please share why you believe student voice is important in district decision-making and achieving the goals of Seattle Excellence?
    (4-6 sentences) 
  3. School Board Student Members should reflect the impressive diversity of the district and represent a variety of interests, perspectives, and backgrounds. School board student members should also possess an awareness of the challenges and barriers that they or others experience in education and in society. Please describe experience you have that is relevant to this position and perspectives you bring to the role.
    (4-6 sentences) 
  4. School Board Student Members will serve as bridges between the School Board and the students of Seattle Public Schools. This role will include communication and relationship building. Please describe how you would approach these key components of the role and any previous relevant experience. 
    (4-6 sentences)