She is Jasmine Martin, a rising Cleveland High School senior. As an upperclassman, young Jasmine will be bringing a new voice, not just to CHS but to the full city school board. As recently announced on front page of our newspaper, Jasmine has been named the newest member of the city school system’s governing body.
Her role will be as student liaison.
She won’t carry a vote.
But she will bring a voice — a big one.
This is a first-time venture by the Cleveland Board of Education, but it is an important one. Although a nonvoting member, Jasmine will bring a new, unique perspective to the municipal board — one that represents her fellow students at the high school level and within the city school system, and to some degree, the parents of those same students.
Jasmine was selected from seven finalists to participate in school board meetings for the coming year, beginning in August. Although she won’t cast a vote, she will be allowed to join in discussions. This is a big move by the local school board, one that should assure a better understanding — and direct line of communication — between the students attending city schools and the board whose members are elected to look after their best interests in education.
The daughter of Billy and Tina Massingale, Jasmine is excited about the opportunity. And rightfully so. Not only is her selection to the board a breakthrough in the modern education process, it will give existing board members a first-hand perspective on the mindsets of young students whose minds they are working to educate. The opinions voiced will be first-person, on-site, at-hand and without interpretation by a third party.
She talked to our newspaper following last week’s school board meeting, at which time she pointed out teachers and parents feel Cleveland High School students need direct representation on the board.
“This gives me a chance to represent my peers,” she explained. “It’s an opportunity for me to express my opinion.”
It won’t be just her opinion.
If the strategy works as planned, Jasmine will bring with her to each board meeting the opinions of hundreds of fellow students whose views in the past have not always been presented directly to the elected board. In most cases, their opinions are relayed through teachers, school administrators or even parents who attend the monthly board meetings. Students have always been welcomed to attend public sessions, but most likely struggle with comfort level in expressing themselves in such open forums.
It is hoped Jasmine’s selection will bridge this gap in communication.
The CHS teen, whose pair of siblings are Sabra Martin and Ellie Massingale, was among a group of seven finalists for the student liaison position. CHS principal Autumn O’Bryan called each a “solid student.” Each was interviewed and judged by school staff members. Each also composed an essay as part of the rigorous selection process.
Jasmine scored especially high in the interviews, earning 98 of a possible 100 points.
All who are involved in this new twist to education are to be commended. This includes Dr. Martin Ringstaff, city school system director, and members of the board, each of whom would have been asked to bless this experiment before its implementation.
Too, we credit CHS administrators and teachers for preparing students for this rare opportunity, and we recognize the courage of students who stepped forward to seek this significant school board post.
We hope it works.
We wish the best for young Jasmine Martin.
We urge all to embrace this new partnership and to keep an open mind to its value — now and in the foreseeable future.
Education has partners at many levels.
All should have a voice in its direction.