Statement Thanking the Fayette County School Board for Endorsement

At their January meeting, the Fayette County Public School Board passed a resolution calling on the General Assembly to add students to school governance bodies through legislation. This was in response to our request delivered at the December board meeting. We delivered this statement at the January meeting thanking them for their endorsement.

Eliza Jane: Thank you, my name is Eliza-Jane Schaeffer and I’m a junior at Henry Clay High School. With me is Sahil Nair, a senior at Paul Laurence Dunbar High School.  We are here this evening to speak on behalf of the Student Voice Team and students across the county and the state. We would like to thank the Fayette County Board of Education for their continued commitment to support the elevation of students and their voices to serve as partners in education.

The idea of including students in a superintendent search is not revolutionary. The American Association of School Administrators stresses the importance of gathering feedback from students, among other key stakeholders, because we “tend to be more in touch with the day-to-day needs [of the district] than is the board.”  Facts from around the country and within the Commonwealth make it clearly evident that we can handle the responsibility.

Sahil: While the Board has been working on this resolution, the Student Voice Team has been pursuing legislative action to change this outdated law and to make the next logical step towards a more inclusive superintendent search process. We are very close to announcing that we have filed a bill that we hope our legislators in Frankfort will be able to support.

Once again, we would like to thank the Board of Education and commend its members for maintaining Fayette County’s position on the cutting edge of education reform. With this resolution, Fayette County leads the state and the country in the movement to involve students in school governance. This resolution shows that Fayette County Public Schools, an organization which prides itself on the motto “It’s About Kids”, knows that student voice matters.

This statement was written collectively by members of the Student Voice Team and presented to the Fayette County Board of Education. Eliza Jane Schaeffer, a junior at Henry Clay High School in Lexington, and Sahil Nair, a senior at Paul Laurence Dunbar High School in Lexington, delivered the statement.

The Kentucky Student Voice Team is a statewide organization of young people who are co-creating more just, democratic Kentucky schools & communities as research, policy & advocacy partners. From 2012 to 2021, KSVT was incubated at the Prichard Committee, a nonpartisan, citizen-led organization working to improve education in Kentucky for all ages.

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