Thomas Stone High School senior DeJuan Woods Jr. has an ambitious goal for Charles County Public Schools (CCPS) students. As Student Member of the Board of Education and a longtime student government participant, Woods is seeking to eliminate a communication barrier among his peers. “Students have concerns but no place to share,” Woods said.
To help Woods reach his goal, he launched a Student Member of the Board Advisory Council. The “SMOB” Advisory Council, as Woods refers to it, is a group of students who share the same goal of increasing student involvement. The council meets regularly and is working on several projects for the spring.
According to Woods, the council is currently planning a countywide student-led service project, a student forum about Women’s History Month in March and increasing the recognition of student achievement through social media. “Our meetings feature the executive board and involve heavy discussion on future planning and idea generation for events sponsored through the council,” Woods said.
The council includes 16 students with members representing the seven Charles County high schools. The council meets online monthly and in-person bi-monthly. Events and forums sponsored through the advisory council are open to all CCPS students and staff members, as well as the Charles County community.
Woods plans to visit all high schools this winter to meet with other students and brainstorm ideas for council events. “We are visiting all of the seven high schools during the winter to engage with students and hear their concerns,” Woods said.
Woods oversees the council with the assistance of Lizzie Daniel, a Thomas Stone senior who serves as chief of staff. The council also includes three appointed student secretaries: Jordan Johnson of North Point High School, Christina Walker of Henry E. Lackey High School and Chelsea Perez of Stone.
The council includes two main departments – communications and special issues. Each department oversees goals for the council with staff to oversee progress. The communications department includes Ian Herd of La Plata High School, Jake Burgess of Maurice J. McDonough High School, Abena Poku of St. Charles High School, Sade Broughton of St. Charles, Celeste Goodell of Stone and Brianna Albrittain of La Plata.
The special issues department includes Krisha Marie Melchor of St. Charles, Faizaan Siddique of Westlake High School, Daniel Mears of McDonough, William Twyman of Stone, Haley Arnold of McDonough and Yasudee Scott of Stone.
Woods hopes the council will help to reshape his role as Student Member to the Board, but also generate more student interest in taking part in their school communities. “I am hoping to see more students involved in their schools. We want students to have a voice and the council can help to create a strong foundation in which students can share their opinions and concerns,” Woods said.
The council has a website for students to learn more about its mission and planned events. The website is https://sites.google.com/view/ccpssmob/home.
Charles County Public Schools provides 27,521 students in grades prekindergarten through 12 with an academically challenging education. Located in Southern Maryland, Charles County Public Schools has 37 schools that offer a technologically advanced, progressive and high quality education that builds character, equips for leadership and prepares students for life, careers and higher education.
The Charles County public school system does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, age or disability in its programs, activities or employment practices. For inquiries, please contact Kathy Kiessling, Title IX/ADA/Section 504 Coordinator (students) or Nikial Majors, Title IX/ADA/Section 504 coordinator (employees/adults), at Charles County Public Schools, Jesse L. Starkey Administration Building, P.O. Box 2770, La Plata, MD 20646; 301-932-6610/301-870-3814. For special accommodations call 301-934-7230 or TDD 1-800-735-2258 two weeks prior to the event.