School Board

Student Members

School Board with student members and superintendent

Seattle School Board Student Members

Role, Responsibilities, and Time Commitment

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 School Board Policy No. 1250, School Board Student Members, in response to student advocacy about the need to uplift and increase 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 hold non-voting advisory positions, but 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 have the opportunity to participate in district policy development processes and counsel board directors on the impacts of potential district actions on students. They are also charged with engaging students and student groups for feedback and with carrying forward the diverse perspectives of Seattle Public Schools students.  

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 for ongoing support.

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


School Board student members will receive $18.69/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. 

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.  

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. 


Each School Board Student Member will be assigned to a board committee, either standing committees or ad hoc committees.  

Meeting days and times vary by committee.

School Board student members will participate in committee discussions and are encouraged to question and communicate their opinions, suggestions, and concerns. 

Student Application for 2023-24 – DEADLINE EXTENDED

Applications for the 2023-24 student member positions open March 6, 2023 and will close April 3, 2023 April 7, 2023 (11:59pm).

Students entering their junior or senior year are eligible to apply for a one-year term that will begin August 2023 and conclude at the end of the 2023-24 school year.

Who Can Apply?

School Board Student Members should reflect the impressive diversity of the district; represent a variety of interests, perspectives, and backgrounds; and 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 school year of their term.  
  • 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. 

Apply to be a Student School Board Member

The application includes two (2) parts: a written application form with short answer questions; and two recommendations. The application is estimated to take up to one (1) week to fill out.  

Completed applications are due April 3, 2023 April 7, 2023 (11:59pm).  

Contact us with questions about applying to be a School Board Student Member.

The School Board Student Member application consists of:  

Phase 1 (due by April 3 April 7, 2023 (11:59pm))

  • Written short answers submitted through the online application form for student applicants 
  • Two recommendations submitted through an online recommendation form

Phase 2 (late April)

  • Video submission (students selected by selection committee to move forward will receive prompt)

Phase 3 (early May)

  • Interview (students selected by selection committee to move forward will receive request to schedule interview)

Applications will be reviewed for eligibility and then evaluated by a student-led selection committee. Applicants selected to move forward in the first round of selection will be asked to submit a video response to a prompt. Applicants selected to move forward in the second round of selection will be invited to participate in an interview.

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.   

To help you prepare before you complete the application, please draft your response to the following questions before you begin your 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 wide range of interests, perspectives, and backgrounds. 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 the perspectives you bring to the role. (4-6 sentences) 
  4. School Board Student Members will serve as a bridge between the School Board and the students across the school district. This means that relationship-building and effective communication will be crucial to serving effectively. Please describe how you will approach these key components of the role, and share any prior relevant experience. (4-6 sentences)
  5. What are you hoping to accomplish in your time as a School Board Student Member? What would you like to work on, and what impact would you like to leave? (4-6 sentences)


Two recommendations are required as part of your application.  

Recommendations must be submitted by April 3, 2023.  

Recommendations may be provided by any individual who can speak to your leadership qualities. Recommenders may be teachers, principals, or other school staff; community members; student leaders; organizational leaders or mentors; or any other individuals familiar with your leadership experience.

Family members, current and former Board Directors, and current and former School Board Student Members cannot be references.   

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. 

Applications will be reviewed for eligibility and then evaluated by a student-led selection committee. Applicants selected to move forward in the first round of selection will be asked to submit a video response to a prompt. Applicants selected to move forward in the second round of selection will be invited to participate in an interview.

The selection committee will then 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 the selection committee.


  • March 6, 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 or Let’s Talk.
  • March 23: Information session will be held for students interested in applying, or who have questions about the Student Member role and/or application process.
  • April 3April 7, 2023 (11:59pm), Applications Due: Complete applications consisting of answers to written questions and two recommendations are due. 
  • April 3 – May 17, 2023: Student-led Evaluation Committee reviews applications. Applicants selected to move forward in the first round will be asked to submit video statements. The Selection Committee will then select applicants for interviews, conduct interviews, and make the final selection.
  • June 2023: Finalists are presented to the Board during a Regular Board Meeting. School Board considers recommended candidates. School Board votes to finalize selection of the 2023-24 School Board Student Members.
  • August 2023: School Board Student Members complete orientation.
  • September 2023: First School Board meeting with 2023-24 School Board Student Members. 

Frequently Asked Questions

When is the application due? 

The application is due on Monday, April 3rd, Friday, April 7, 2023 by 11:59 p.m.

The application includes a student application with short answer questions 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 2023 with orientation. Their first required Regular Board Meeting will be the first meeting in September 2023.  

How long will the Student Members serve?

Each cohort of Student Members serve for one school year. For example, applicants selected in to the Spring 2023 application cycle will serve for the 2023-24 school year.

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 in the afternoon, between 4:00-6:30 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 to support their work. Student members will also be provided with an orientation and onboarding in August 2023, 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.

Have Questions?

Attend a virtual information session to learn more about the position and application process on March 23, 2023 from 5:00-6:00pm.

And, contact us with questions about applying to be a School Board Student Member.