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An upbeat website for a downtown school

the Southerner Online

An upbeat website for a downtown school

the Southerner Online

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Student advisory committee grows student participation in district

The+2023-2024+school+years+APS+Student+Advisory+Council+is+working+to+reach+all+of+APS+and+increase+all+students+voices.
Courtesy of Atlanta Public Schools
The 2023-2024 school years APS Student Advisory Council is working to reach all of APS and increase all students voices.

For the past nine years, the Atlanta Public Schools Student Advisory Council has served as a stepping stone for students to the central office of the district. 

The APS Student Advisory Council is a group of students from the district’s high schools chosen to voice high school students’ wants and concerns to the superintendent and Georgia Board of Education. 

Keith Glass, APS community affairs manager, believes the committee has been a great way to spark dialogue between students and the superintendent. 

“They met with the [interim] superintendent already (Dr. Danielle Battle), and then in a couple of weeks, there will be a meeting to work on the profile of the next superintendent of APS,” Glass said. “The students will be participating in the regional meetings with the district to offer feedback to district administrators and around everything that they need to hear about the educational experiences.”

Senior Brooke Shelton, a member of the council atWashington High School, is a program participant and has already met many officials.

‘“We’ve got to talk to Dr. Battle, our new interim superintendent, and we’re going to be the first student group to speak at the principals’ meeting this month,” Shelton said.

Junior Madison Walker is a first year council member and believes it has been an outlet for her to help students throughout the district. She has worked with the committee on efforts for student technology access and telehealth services. 

“One of the biggest impacts that I don’t think a lot of people know the council was vital in were the computers and the one-to-one device for every student,”  Walker said. “That was something that the Student Advisory Council had a role in, as well as ‘Hazel Health,’ which is a mental health program going on in our schools.”

For admission to the program, each school can elect up to two students to serve on the council. Glass has been the advisor of the Student Advisory Council for six years. 

“Our high schools, including our traditional and charter schools, have had to delegate seats,” Glass said. “These seats are done from appointment by the current SGA at the schools and then the second step is through an application process that myself, along with my co-advisor Dr. [Charles] Carr, go through and make the selection from there.”

Shelton believes the advisory council is beneficial to the community and a viable funnel of student input to administrators. 

“I joined the council simply because the people that represented my school last year weren’t doing the best job, and I wanted a part of it,” Shelton said. “I knew the Student Advisory Council was the way to have my student voice heard in the right manner, so that was the easiest choice for me.”

For the current school year, the Student Advisory Council aims to boost student representation across all school levels in the district. 

“One of the biggest ones [goals] that we’re hoping to accomplish this year is just increasing the voice of all of our students,” Glass said. “We’ve done a great job of capturing the voice of high school students, but we have missed the mark on a lot of those voices of those in the middle and elementary schools.”

To elevate student voices, the council has begun a process to help the superintendent and school board identify and assess schools’ varying needs.

“We’re in the process of just identifying what all of our middle and elementary schools have [in terms of]  student ambassador roles,” Glass said. “Once we get those students, we would then coordinate a set time for them to all come together and start meeting with the high schools. We really want SGA at our high schools to serve as the governing body for the middle and elementary schools so they are able to voice their concerns as a cluster.“

To execute their duties and goals as a committee, Glass hopes students will help communicate what needs to be done district-wide. 

“We just ask that students continue to speak up, and we just want students to always advocate for what they see happening in their schools and know that the student advisory council is here to serve,” Glass said.

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Abby Ippen
Abby Ippen, Lifestyle Section Editor
Abby Ippen is a third-year staff member and she is excited to contribute to the paper. Outside the paper, she enjoys playing soccer, running, and hanging out with friends.

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