Student School Board in the Edison Board Room with Students at the Board Table

Student Leadership comes in many forms: athletic teams, students of academic excellence, student councils, clubs, music, plays, and so much more. At Rochester Public Schools, we also offer our secondary students a unique opportunity to participate in our Student School Board program. 

What is a Student School Board? Collectively, it's a unified representation of our RPS students in grades 6-12 who gather monthly during the school day. The ultimate goal is to empower students to become advocates for change and influence building and district decisions that directly impact students. Students on the Student School Board gain the opportunity to learn more about the school board's role and responsibilities, provide insight and feedback to the School Board, district administration and departments, develop leadership and problem-solving skills, and network with students from other schools. 

Each student is self-nominated at the beginning of the school year through an application where they define and discuss important issues that need to be addressed at their school. This application shows each student's unique interest and guides the conversation for the student school board once the student school board has been formed after the beginning of the school year. 

In action, the Student School Board recently provided valuable insight into how the high school registration process works for students and families. This feedback received by district administration offers additional perspective into areas of success or improvement. Instead of just a digital survey, students can share their opinions in a tangible way by ask district leaders questions, make suggestions, and offer ideas that can improve their school registration for themselves and other students.

At the middle school level, Jean Marvin, School Board treasurer, also gave insight into how our Middle School Student School Board members are making an impact, saying, "students have talked about---among many other things-- how social media affects adolescents and how their school's cell phone policy, ‘Away for the Day’ is working, and what issues need to be considered as we move to new bell times next school year." 

Student School Board members are leading to make changes at the district level and in their own schools. "Student School Board has given me a sense of empowerment," answered Danielle at Century High School. "We've made changes by implementing student groups at Century to better advocate for student voice."

From a student's perspective, the benefits also impact their personal growth. Olivia at John Marshall High School shared, "I have learned so much about this community and the other schools across the district, as well as discovered my love for leadership and leading others." 

RPS is currently working towards uplifting Youth voice and leadership, as a district-wide initiatives for systems change (DISC) with the RPS strategic plan, so that issues that matter to students can be articulated and addressed and so that young people can contribute to their schools and our community. This work is currently being led by Sara-Louise Henry, Coordinator of Youth Empowerment. 

As the District develops a comprehensive student leadership plan for the coming school year to empower and elevate student voices, the Student School Board will continue to be an avenue to create and foster student leadership in Rochester Public Schools.

Sara Louise Henry Student School Board Member speaking into the mic Jean Marvin talking to student school board