Dayja Burton, a rising senior at McKinley Technology High School, and Alex O’Sullivan, a rising sophomore at BASIS DC PCS, will serve as Student Representatives for the 2019–20 school year. For the length of their term, the Student Representatives will join the nine elected State Board members in policy discussions and community engagement efforts, bringing the voice of students directly to decision makers. With their direct experience in the classroom, student representatives provide a unique voice during policy discussions and offer a vital perspective on teacher retention, education standards, and our state accountability system.
Dayja is a McKinley Technology Zelinger award winner, a recipient of the Perseverance Award, and a member of the Principal’s Honor Roll and National Honor Society. Alex is a member of Youth and Government, co-founder and president of his school’s poetry club, and a volunteer tutor at his local elementary school. As Student Representatives, Burton and O’Sullivan will also co-chair the 2019–20 Student Advisory Committee (SAC), a volunteer group of students from District high schools in both D.C. Public Schools (DCPS) and the public charter sector.
The Student Representatives will participate in all SBOE activities, with votes being recorded but not affecting the outcome of any policy measure. They will also serve as co-chairs of the Student Advisory Committee, a volunteer group of more than thirty District students from 16 District high schools in both DC Public Schools and the public charter sector. If you know a student interested in joining the Student Advisory Committee, they can contact Dayja or Alex via email at [email protected].
2017-18, 2018-19 SBOE Student Representative | Ballou High School - Class of 2019
“I am so proud and honored to say that I have served as the State Board of Education Student Representative and the Co-Chair of the Student Advisory Committee. As a student representative, I am the liaison and voice between the student population of the District of Columbia and policymakers for education. This role has helped me develop tremendously and has allowed me to discuss how my education is affected by decisions being made. I have also become more passionate in being sure that student voices are heard. My peers have also put trust in me to be the voice of our education. I have worked with students from so many DC high schools to discuss the goals we expect to meet as a district. We have also discussed having equitable opportunities and resources for all of our education. I have been the leader of creating a mentorship program, leading meetings, sharing correspondence via email, and interaction with some leading policymakers.”
2018-19 SBOE Student Representative | Capital City Public Charter School- Class of 2019
“As a Student Representative, I am the connection between students in the District of Columbia and the policymakers for education. Not only has it given me the opportunity to be an advocate for students, but I am able to connect with my community as well.”
2017-18 SBOE Student Representative | HD Woodson High School - Class of 2018
“The position of Student Representative is a voice in itself. It is a reminder to the Board members that their decisions affect students. I am able to exercise that voice in a way I could not before. Members of the Board have supported me and listened to anything I needed to say, taking it into account. I learned what It meant to have the power to bring change from the simplest actions. This is a lifelong experience that sticks with you no matter where you go. I improved as a person from being there. I will take this with me everywhere I go.”