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Josie Shaffer - STUDENT BOARD MEMBER

Report to the Board of Education of Baltimore County From the Student Member of the Board

Student Board Member

Student Member of the Board Message
Student Member of the Board Message
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Good evening and happy Tuesday!

This is my last meeting of the Board of Education, and what a crazy year it has been. My first event as the Student Member of the Board (SMOB) was hosting a teacher panel for the Administrative and Supervisory meeting in August. After the event I was in the hall, sticking out like a sore thumb being a 17 year old in a sea of distinguished BCPS administrators. I ran into one of my Assistant Principals, who was not coming back to Pikesville this school year, she looked me up and down and went: “Oh, so you’re that thing now.”

Yes, I was “that thing” now. It has been an honor to be “that thing,” Student Member of the Board of Education, representing 113,000 students. But when I was elected last March, I had no idea what I was getting into. This has been the most wild and stressful year of my life, though if I could do it again I wouldn’t want to change a thing. My favorite part about being SMOB was meeting students. I’ve traveled through elementary, middle and high school with the same group of students that I’ve known for thirteen years. But being SMOB literally made me travel around the Beltway to meet students from different backgrounds and understand the culture and climate of their schools. Being SMOB meant I was in contact with student leaders from around the county and state: I was fortunate to be on the Superintendent’s Advisory Council and serve as an executive board member of the Maryland Association of Student Councils this year. Serving on the Baltimore County Student Council’s (BCSC) exec board also gave me direct access to some of the brightest students in the county. I’m grateful for them allowing me to have 40 minutes of unfiltered question and answer sessions about whatever the board was up to the week before. And thank you to Jake Turner for being a great BCSC president and friend, who despite having General Assemblies cancelled because of weather, never gave up on increasing student leadership in the county.

My BCPS TV show, “On the Move with Josie,” is something that I am so proud of. I am grateful to the four clubs for allowing me to highlight their stories. I’ve spoken about my show enough times that I hope you have seen at least one episode, but I can’t thank BCPS TV and Mr. Daylan enough for allowing me to do this. It’s been a crazy year, have I mentioned that yet? But this experience has taught me so much. I have learned what to do and what not to do during debates, how to survive a school day after a late night, 5 hour board meeting, and what it means to be a leader. My mom kept saying that my head was going to be too big to fit in our tiny car, but it was always fun to hear that my friends and teachers saw me in the corner of their TV screens when they watched WBAL in the morning after a board meeting. One time I got recognized at a show I went to, which was really cool.

Thank you to my fellow board members for being kind and supportive, and hopefully seeing me as a peer. Thank you to my teachers throughout my 13 years in Baltimore County schools for helping me find what I am passionate in and shaping me into the person I am today. My kindergarten, first, and second grade teachers are actually here tonight, including my mother, who has been teaching in BCPS for 31 years. Thank you to Ms. Murray, who is the BCSC advisor and was always by my side this year to navigate the board. To my friends, thank you for always encouraging me and pretending to not get tired of me talking about the board. A big thank you to my parents for being so supportive and allowing me to take the car whenever I needed to get to an event and meeting.

Finally, thank you to the students who elected me to serve as SMOB. Thank you for believing in me, and allowing me to spend the year making sure the student voice is listened to. Being SMOB does not mean I hear from 200 Pikesville seniors before voting on policies and contracts, but it means to listen to students from different schools who participate in various clubs, who may not always have the same opinion as me. To the adults in the room: do not count the student voice out. This year, students have proven that we are capable of great change, and I hope BCPS students know that when they speak up people will listen. It has been an honor to be your Student Member of the Board for the 2017-2018 school year. Roll Terps!

Thank you.

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