Sound School Student Named to State BOE

Sound School student Jake Colavolpe named to the State Board of Education as a student representative starting in July
NEW HAVEN – A rising senior at Sound School, Jake Colavolpe has been named a student representative on the Connecticut Board of Education, Jake will be a student member starting in July.
The selection process to serve on the Board is neither easy, nor quick. Applicants must maintain a B-plus average, submit a letter stating why they wish to serve on the Board, and provide three letters of recommendation. The State Student Advisory Council on Education (SSACE) oversees the application screening process and narrows the pool of students to approximately 10-12. This year, the Council received 65 applications and interviewed 12.
The SSACE, composed of five students in their senior year of high school, reaches consensus on interview questions and conducts 30 minute interviews with each of the selected candidates. After the interview process, five finalists are chosen to interview with Governor Malloy or an assistant. Finally, two are chosen to serve on the State BOE. The other three students are offered seats on the SSACE for the upcoming year.
“Jake’s selection to the State Board of Education shows how much potential exists in all of our students,” said Superintendent Garth Harries. “This is a perfect example of how much our students want to, and will, rise and succeed when we support them in their goals.”
Sound School Principal Rebecca Gratz expressed a deep sense of pride at his accomplishment. “Jake is a bright, articulate, and driven young man. He worked very hard with the Student Council adviser to apply for the position and maintained a positive and professional demeanor throughout the very long process,” she said. “We are incredibly proud of Jake’s accomplishment and know that he will represent the Sound School and New Haven Public Schools thoughtfully and proudly.”
Jake’s appointment to the state BOE comes at a time when the New Haven Board of Education is beginning discussion on the creation of student representative positions on the local school board. Those discussions began at Monday evening’s BOE meeting held at Hill Regional Career High School.
Jake will serve on the State Board for a one-year term (July 1, 2013 through June 30, 2014). The student members are administered the Oath of Office at their first meeting and participate in all discussions (public and closed session) and activities, such as the Teacher of the Year ceremony. In the past, they have also participated in discussions on a national level, sponsored by the National Association of State Boards of Education. Connecticut’s student members do not have voting privileges, however.
As is required of all State Board of Education members, Jake and the second student member, who hails from New London, must be confirmed by the General Assembly. They will appear before the Executive and Legislative Nominations Committee, present testimony on their qualifications for the position, and respond to questions raised by Committee members.
Though he considers himself politically-minded and participates in local activism, Jake said of his appointment, “This is not just about my voice exclusively, but about the voices of all students in New Haven and in the state of Connecticut. Students deserve to have a say in their education.”
In addition to starting his post on the State BOE this summer, Jake is also taking two summer courses at Yale through the university’s summer session, thanks to a scholarship reserved for New Haven students.