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Gorham students: Use your voices to strengthen Maine education

AUGUSTA, ME–The Maine Department of Education (DOE) opened applications for the 2023/2024 Student Cabinet, a group of students that meet regularly with the Maine DOE and each other to use their voices to strengthen education in Maine.

Facilitated by student representatives from the?Maine State Board of Education, the purpose of the Student Cabinet is to provide a forum for Maine students’ voices to be heard. This is the fourth year the Maine DOE has appointed students to a Student Cabinet with the goal of integrating student voices into decision-making on education issues that impact their journey through Maine’s education system.

“Involving student voices in policymaking is more important than ever,” said Ryan Hafener, Co-Chair and Facilitator of the Maine DOE Student Cabinet. Hafener is a student member of the Maine State Board of Education and a senior at Hampden Academy. “The Student Cabinet is a space where young people from across the state can have their voices heard on issues they care about.”

In past years, students have helped in identifying mental health needs at school, raised issues of racial equity, and helped brainstorm ways to individualize learning. Last year,?the Student Cabinet presented their mental health concerns and ideas to Maine’s Legislative Committee on Education and Cultural Affairs.

The Maine DOE encourages students with diverse experiences, interests, cultures, and backgrounds to apply to be represented on the Student Cabinet. 

There are 12-24 seats that are open for students in?grades 4 – 12 and the first year of college.?The newly appointed members will serve for a term of?two years?starting this November.?All 16 counties in Maine will be represented on the Student Cabinet.

Selected Cabinet members will be expected to attend scheduled meetings, prepare for each meeting as needed, work in a collaborative manner with?one another?and with Maine DOE  staff as needed, and express views and opinions openly, constructively, and respectfully.

Scheduled meetings:

There will be two in-person, all-day meetings scheduled in Augusta in December 2023 and Spring 2024, accompanied by monthly virtual meetings held on the fourth Thursday of the month from December 2023 through the spring of 2024 from 3:00 – 4:00 pm via Zoom. For in-person meetings, travel reimbursement will be provided and travel arrangements can also be made for students if needed.

Instructions for applying:

Students interested in serving on the Maine DOE Student Cabinet will need to submit the electronic application by November 15, 2023.?Applications can be submitted electronically at the DOE website.

For more information contact?Rachel Paling, Communications & Outreach Manager, Maine Department of Education at?

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