- Val Vista Lakes Elementary
GPS juniors and seniors serve on Superintendent’s Student Senate
When you think about the Gilbert Public Schools family, the students are the heart and soul. They are the best of our community and represent a promising future. Their authenticity, creative thinking, and courageous leadership inspires our educators and administrators every day. For a group of 14 high school students in the district, they are getting the chance to take their ideas and concerns directly to the Gilbert Public Schools administration. They are serving as representatives on the Superintendent’s Student Senate.
"It gives them the understanding that they matter, that they count, and what they have to say is important to us," said Dr. Shane McCord, superintendent of Gilbert Public Schools.
Each GPS high school has two representatives picked by their principals and teachers to have direct contact with Dr. McCord. The students meet monthly to talk about the issues most important to their classmates.
"I think it's important to be able to hear from the students at all of our high schools. It gives us the opportunity to run some ideas by them, get their feedback, and also get somes ideas about what they expect of us,” Dr. McCord said.
Madison Moore is a senior at Canyon Valley. She does volunteer work, coaches her younger sister’s volleyball team, and she’s also involved in her community church. Moore says she’s enjoyed getting to know other school leaders and learning more about their campuses.
“All of them are very outspoken, but very understanding. We’re all super respectful of each other,” Moore said, “If someone has a difference of opinion, we hear it and understand it. If we disagree, we disagree, but either way we talk about it.”
The monthly meetings happen at the different high schools in the district allowing the student representatives a chance to host the event and give a school tour. The move provides an opportunity to see more of the Gilbert community.
“It takes them out of the area surrounding their own school, and they see the other schools and programs offered to GPS students,” said Marcie Taylor, the executive director of Secondary Education for Gilbert Public Schools.
Students also hear guest speakers from district departments, including Teaching and Learning, Marketing and Communications, and Technology Services. They are invited to attend Governing Board meetings and have breakfast with local business leaders. Madi Trimmer, a senior at Gilbert Classical Academy, says she is learning a lot about how the school district operates.
“It’s just kind of mind-blowing. We’re always like the district should do this and that, but to make the decision is a lot more complicated than you think it is,” she said.
Trimmer is very involved on GCA’s campus. She participates in the school’s Student Senate, Ambassadors Club, National Honor Society, and more. She says being part of the Superintendent’s Student Senate has allowed her to tell others about the achievements of her classmates.
“I just want to be able to share the positive things going on at GCA, and hope to inspire the other students to pursue similar opportunities at their schools,” Trimmer said.
The student leaders take what is discussed in their meetings back to their principals and school campuses. Dr. McCord says he also follows up with district leadership. Collaboration is a key part of the senate’s process.
“I tell my friends what we talk about, because I want to let them know that what they care about is what we care about,” Moore said.
Both Moore and Trimmer hope their experiences serving on the Superintendent’s Student Senate will motivate more students to get involved.
“When you are in a leadership position, you can inspire people to lead. In my opinion, leadership should be contagious,” Trimmer said.