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MLSD board talks details on student rep

by CHARLES H. FEATHERSTONE
Staff Writer | January 18, 2021 1:00 AM

MOSES LAKE — As the Moses Lake School District considers creating a new position of student representative on the school board, officials overseeing the effort want it to be different this time.

“We’ve been down this road a couple of different time,” said Dave Balcom, executive director of student services, during an online school board meeting Thursday night. “Ultimately, the goal is for our students to become civic minded and that they do have a voice.”

At a previous meeting, board members agreed a student representative needs to be able to talk about real concerns and have real input into the board process, and not simply talk about the latest goings-on at Moses Lake High School.

Balcom said the district is looking at broadening the position of student representative, creating “intentional” lines of communication between the school board, the high school, and the district’s three middle schools, involving middle school school students in the process, and crafting a curriculum and establishing “academic expectations for this role.”

The position would be open to juniors and seniors at MLHS.

“We want them to have true skin in the game,” Balcom told board members.

As the board discusses the position in the next few months, the district will work on a curriculum, Balcom said, and will start recruiting sophomores and juniors in March. The hope is to have a student representative on the school board as a non-voting member in the fall, Balcom said.

“The timeline is pretty aggressive,” he said.

Board member Bryce McPartland said it’s important to have students in leadership positions, able to give back to the community, and his only concern is that it “may not be as effective as we’re looking for.”

Board President Vickey Melcher said it was important the student representative position be open to all kids, not just leaders of the Associated Student Body (ASB) groups at both MLHS and the middle schools.

“When I talked to the kids at Chief Moses, they said they wanted to apply for it,” she said.

“We’re a medium-to-large school district with lots of kids and lots of very talented individuals,” echoed Superintendent Josh Meek. “Leadership can take on lots of shapes and forms. We don’t always need to have the same students always representing the voice of our student populations. I think that’s important.”

Charles H. Featherstone can be reached at cfeatherstone@columbiabasinherald.com.