September 26, 2023 – State School Superintendent Richard Woods has selected 69 Georgia students, including one from Mary Persons High School, to serve on his 2023-2024 Student Advisory Council. Throughout the year, these students will meet with Superintendent Woods to provide feedback on the impact of state policies in the classroom.
Members of the Student Advisory Council will also discuss other education-related issues, serve as the Superintendent’s ambassadors to their respective schools, and participate in service projects to benefit schools and students.
“Georgia’s public schools exist to serve students, and it is absolutely essential that we receive feedback directly from those directly affected by statewide policies,” Superintendent Woods said. “Every year, my Student Advisory Council is an incredibly valuable resource for me, and for my colleagues at the Georgia Department of Education, as we make decisions that will directly impact the classroom. The students selected for this year’s Council are a prestigious group representing schools across the state, and I look forward to working with them to expand educational opportunities for all of Georgia’s children.”
Each year, any student in grades 10-12 attending a Georgia public school (including charter schools) may fill out an application to be considered for the Student Advisory Council. The application includes short essay prompts that allow students to share their ideas for public education.
This year, students selected for the Council wrote essays addressing a wide variety of issues in education, including curriculum and graduation requirements; the impact of federal- and state-mandated assessments in the classroom; the importance of teacher recruitment and retention efforts to students’ classroom experience; and access to opportunities and resources for students in rural areas.
The council includes at least four students from every Regional Educational Service Agency (RESA) region in Georgia; students represent rural, suburban, and urban schools. Because GaDOE works to ensure the council is representative of students in all regions of the state and selects students based on the strength of their essay answers, in some cases multiple students from a district may be selected.
Mary Persons Sophomore Jalen McCord was chosen for the panel. Dr. Jim Finch, Monroe County Schools Superintendent, said, "We are very proud of Jalen and very grateful to have a seat at the table where Richard Woods will be listening and leveraging student voice. We look forward to the impact and contributions that Jalen is surely to make on this prestigious council."
The first 2023-2024 Student Advisory Council meeting will be at the Georgia Department of Education’s offices in November. Selected students will receive details via email.