Press Release: New Haven High Schoolers choose representatives to Board of Education in historic first student election

June 8, 2015
 
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Abbe Smith/ 203-676-0463
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NEW HAVEN HIGH SCHOOLERS CHOOSE REPRESENTATIVES TO BOARD OF EDUCATION IN HISTORIC FIRST STUDENT ELECTION
 
NEW HAVEN – High school students across New Haven participated in the first citywide student election for representatives on the Board of Education and selected two students to represent their voice on that governing body: Kimberly Sullivan from Sound School (as the rising senior) and Coral Ortiz from Hillhouse High School (as the rising junior). The two students will formally take their seats on the Board of Education July 1.
 
This was the first election for student representatives on the Board of Education since New Haven voters decided in a citywide charter revision referendum in 2013 to create the two student seats. The goal is to strengthen youth voice in New Haven Public Schools and give students an opportunity to have a stronger impact on their own education.
 
Students voted on Thursday and Friday following protocols set by members of the Board of Alders-appointed Student Elections Committee, headed by Alder Sarah Eidelson, who also serves as chair of the Youth Services Committee. Turnout in this first election was high with over 3,400 ballots cast.
 
“Our system rests on a fundamental principle that those served by government are represented in that government,” Mayor Toni N. Harp said. “This new membership feature of the New Haven Board of Education reflects that approach to local policy-making specific to public education – I look forward to the input we’ll receive from new student representatives to the board.”
 
“Student voice is a powerful component of learning and growth for young people. That voice can and should also play a key role in school district governance. When we engage our students in thinking about not just their own future, but the futures of their 21,000 peers, everyone benefits. I congratulate all of the student leaders who participated in this election and I look forward to the contributions of our newly elected student representatives,” said Superintendent of Schools Garth Harries.
 
"In the charter revision process, the people of New Haven were clear that we want to see a strong student voice on the Board of Ed. The Election Committee has worked to maximize student engagement in this historic election, and we commend all of the candidates on their hard work and dedication to representing their peers. I'm looking forward to working with all six of them to improve opportunities for young people in our city," said Alder Sarah Eidelson, Chair of the Election Committee. 
 
“This election elevates the role of student voice in our Board and gives students a chance to impact how the district runs. The process also teaches students about their civic responsibility in a democratic society, an important lesson for our future leaders. I look forward to these students joining the dialogue on the Board of Education,” said BOE President Dr. Carlos Torre.