SPRINGFIELD - Eighteen sophomore, junior, and senior high school students from across Illinois met for the first time as the State Board’s Student Advisory Council (SAC) for the 2017-18 school year. The teens convened at the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) offices in Springfield on Sept. 13 and 14. Members of SAC provide student perspectives on the state’s education issues and have a front-row seat as the State Board formulates policy.
“Feedback from our stakeholders and the field informs all of the State Board’s initiatives and decision-making,” said State Superintendent of Education Tony Smith, Ph.D. “The Student Advisory Council provides ISBE with insights into the priorities and perspectives of Illinois’ students. I hope this opportunity inspires our civic-minded students to continue participating in government and educational leadership beyond high school.”
The 2017-18 SAC includes 12 new members and six returning members. The members of this year’s SAC are:
|*Arun, Neha||Carterville Community Unit School District ||Junior ||Carterville |
|*Berrera, Oliver ||North Chicago School District ||Senior ||North Chicago |
|*Blievernicht, Evan ||Teutopolis Community Unit School District ||Senior ||Teutopolis |
|*Durand-Little, Kevin ||Niles Township High School District ||Senior ||Skokie |
|Gatz, Emma C. ||Indian Prairie Community Unit School District ||Sophomore ||Aurora |
|Massey, Bryce H. ||Anna-Jonesboro Community High School District ||Junior ||Anna |
|Miller, Gatlin J. ||Mount Vernon Township High School District ||Junior ||Mount Vernon |
|Molton, Jazmine ||East St. Louis School District ||Junior ||East St. Louis |
|Peng, FanXuan ||Chicago Public Schools ||Junior ||Chicago |
|Ravala, Bhavana S. ||McLean County Unit School District ||Senior ||Normal |
|*Rock, Kathleen ||Byron Community Unit School District ||Senior ||Byron |
|Siebers, Levi D. ||Liberty Community Unit School District ||Sophomore ||Liberty |
|Subramanian, Nitinshankar ||Township High School District 211 ||Senior ||Palatine |
|Thurman, Abbigail K. ||University High School ||Sophomore ||Normal |
|Wang, Andy Z. ||Indian Prairie Community Unit School District ||Senior ||Aurora |
|*Warden, Elisabeth ||Beardstown Community Unit School District ||Senior ||Beardstown |
|Weeks, Olivia G. ||Frankfort Community Unit School District ||Senior ||West Frankfort |
|Wilwohl, Noah J. ||Iroquois West Community Unit School District ||Senior ||Gilman |
(*Indicates Returning Student)
Each year, the members of SAC select a topic to research in depth and present to the State Board. In previous years, the SAC has examined mental health resources in schools, best practices for recognizing vocational education, grading scales for school districts, the effects of cyber bullying, the effects of mandatory physical education on high school students and district budgets, and the dropout crisis.
“The members of the Student Advisory Council bring diverse and unique voices to the State Board’s discussions,” said State Board of Education Chairman James T. Meeks. “I look forward to hearing from this year’s new and returning SAC members on ways to better our education system. These young people share a strong work ethic, an ability to think creatively, and a commitment to prioritize the work of the council within their already busy schedules. I encourage every Illinois high school student interested in public service to look into applying for SAC for next year.”
Applicants to the SAC undergo a competitive review process. Those selected exhibit strong interpersonal skills, the ability to work well in groups, think creatively, and come up with innovative solutions to policy challenges. Most have an avid interest in public service and education policy. The State Board reviews dozens of applications each year. The State Board established the SAC in 1975. All sophomores, juniors, and seniors who attend an Illinois public high school are eligible to apply. ISBE will make applications for next year’s SAC (school year 2018-19) available in the spring of 2018.
For more information on SAC, visit the SAC page.