By Amy Wallot
While always on the minds and agendas of staffers at the Kentucky Department of Education (KDE), students are a rarity in the KDE offices. But recently members of the Next-Generation Student Council visited KDE to share their thoughts about classroom engagement, teacher evaluations, finical aid and even school lunch with the Kentucky Department of Education.
Commissioner Terry Holliday created the council in the fall of 2011 as a way to hear student voices and to share the goals and initiatives of the Kentucky Department of Education. Students apply in the fall with an application sharing their opinions on the issues facing Kentucky schools and student. No minimum GPA is required. Members, grades 10-12, are chosen from each of the seven state board of education districts; there are also four at-large members. This year 208 students applied for four open positions.
During the only in-person meeting of the council this year, members had lunch with Commissioner Holliday, met with Rep. Ryan Quarles, R-Georgetown, and discussed innovation and the student voice survey with KDE staff. The council will meet virtually three more times this school year.
Returning members of the council are:
• Iman Ali – 12th grade, Pikeville High, Pikeville Ind.
• Morgan Casto – 11th grade, Russell High, Russell Ind.
• Natalie Fahrbach – 12th grade, Louisville Male High, Jefferson Co.
• Tiffany Parham – 11th grade, Murray High, Murray Ind.
• Hunter Peay – 12th grade, Butler County High
• Blair Walden – 12th grade, South Laurel High, Laurel Co.
• Jake Walker – 12th grade, Henderson County High
New members of the council are:
• Vincent Cao – 11th grade, Paul Laurence Dunbar High, Fayette Co.
• David Hormell – 11th grade, Martha Layne Collins High, Shelby Co.
• Sarah Howard – 12th grade, Glasgow High, Glasgow Ind.
• Guyron Spalding – 11th grade, Bardstown High, Bardstown Ind.