Local students offer public education insight

Local students offer public education insight
Local students offer public education insight | Weakley County SCOPE students

SCOPE STUDENTS – Local students recently had an opportunity to express their views on issues facing public education at Tennessee State University at the Tennessee School Boards Association Student Congress on Policies in Education. Participants include

SCOPE STUDENTS – Local students recently had an opportunity to express their views on issues facing public education at Tennessee State University at the Tennessee School Boards Association Student Congress on Policies in Education. Participants included (front, from left) Kaitlyn Simmons, Sammy Verdell, Zoe Stringer, Tiana Winstead, Dr. Debbie Doster, Advisor, (back) Ben Garner, Adam Reinhard, Ty Roberts and Conner Verdell. Not pictured was Advisor Sheryl Cavin.

Students from Weakley County Schools joined approximately 400 of their high school peers in Nashville on March 11 to express their views on public education in Tennessee at the Tennessee School Boards Association (TSBA) Student Congress on Policies in Education (SCOPE). The event took place on the Avon Williams Campus of Tennessee State University.

Attending from Weakley County Schools were:

• Tiana Winstead and Ty Roberts – Dresden High School

• Sammy Verdell and Connor Verdell – Gleason School

• Kaitlyn Simmons and Ben Garner – Greenfield School

• Zoe Stringer and Adam Reinhard – Westview High School

Now in its 30th year, SCOPE is designed to give students a voice where public education issues are concerned and to involve young people in finding solutions to the topics that are discussed. Attendees participated in mock school board sessions, where they assumed the roles of school board members, school officials, parents, students and concerned citizens. Those sessions were led by actual school board members and superintendents from across the state. 

Students then chose speakers to represent each of their 16 small groups who went on to take part in full-scale debates on current education issues. This year’s four debate topics were:

1. Homeschoolers shall be allowed to participate in public school extracurricular activities.

2. Virtual Classes/Distance Learning shall only be offered for Advanced Placement and Elective courses.

3. All textbooks shall be provided electronically.

4. Social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter and MySpace, shall be used as a resource in the classroom.

Following the debates, all participants voted to support or oppose the debate issues and other relevant topics. The results of that student input will be shared with school board members, key legislators, and Dept. of Education officials. 

SCOPE delegates then elected 2012 SCOPE officers from those underclassmen that took part in the debates. The 2012 SCOPE officers are:

• President: Oran Dixson, Hamilton County, East Ridge High School

• 1st Vice President: Reed Perryman, Bedford County, Shelbyville Central High School

• 2nd Vice President: Joseph Nance, Anderson County, Anderson County High School 

During the past 29 years, the congress has addressed a variety of topics including the use of cell phones during school, alternative calendars, random drug testing, funding of the arts, student discipline, crime and violence in schools, curriculum, social problems, and academic and behavioral standards.

SCOPE participants were chosen by their local school systems, and many are active in student government.

The Tennessee School Boards Association was organized in 1939 to provide a united voice in education for local public school boards. In 1953, the State Legislature officially recognized TSBA as the “organization and representative agency of the members of school boards in Tennessee.”

The Tennessee School Boards Association is a service organization to all the state’s school boards. It serves as an advocate for the interests of Tennessee’s public school students and school districts and provides in-service training and assistance for the state’s more than 950 board of education members.

wcp 3/17/11

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