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Pasadena Unified Makes History, Swears In First-Ever District-Wide Student Council

Published on Monday, April 1, 2024 | 5:51 am

In a historic move, the Pasadena Unified School District has sworn in its first-ever Student Council during the Board of Education meeting on March 28. The newly elected Council, consisting of six high school students from across the District, will represent their fellow students and offer input on board agenda items through preferential votes.

The Student Council members include three juniors who will serve during the 2023-24 school year: Mateo Paz from Pasadena High School, Emilio Alban from Blair International Baccalaureate School, and Kaitlan Sakuma from Marshall Fundamental.

The Council also includes three sophomores who will serve in the 2024-25 academic year: JP Ramirez from Pasadena High School, Lesley Chee from Blair International Baccalaureate School, and Terra Bondsmith from John Muir Early College Magnet High School.

The Student Council is part of the Pasadena Unified School District’s broader initiative to engage students in the decision-making process. The District has also established a Student Assembly, which will consist of elected members from each grade level at all six Pasadena Unified School District high schools. The Student Assembly will meet regularly to discuss and vote on board agenda items, ensuring that student voices are heard and considered.

“Currently-enrolled Pasadena Unified School District high school students can join Pasadena Unified School District’s first Student Assembly and represent fellow students on Pasadena Unified School District’s Board of Education,” the District announced in a statement. “Each school will elect members from each grade, and students are invited to run for office at their grade level.”

In addition to the six Student Council members, three high school students have been elected to serve on the Student Assembly: Lucas Kittle, a freshman at Pasadena High School; Jade Farrise, a senior at Pasadena High School; and Mphatso Johnson, a senior at John Muir High School.

The Student Council members will rotate attendance at the monthly Board of Education meetings, where they will have the opportunity to offer input through preferential votes. However, the Student Assembly will review and vote on all board agenda items, except those discussed in closed sessions, at meetings held at each of the six high schools.

To support the Student Assembly, the Pasadena Unified School District has created a Student Think Tank. This group will provide training for student board members, offer support for meetings, and attend assembly meetings as needed.

The Student Assembly members will be required to attend District-wide meetings and weekly in-person meetings with their school’s assembly and Council members. Student Council members will have additional responsibilities, including leading weekly assembly meetings at their respective campuses and attending two Board of Education meetings at the District office. All hours dedicated to the Student Assembly will be considered community service hours.

Education experts and community members have praised the District’s commitment to student involvement in governance. The Pasadena Unified School District aims to foster a sense of ownership and engagement among its student body by providing a platform for students to actively participate in the decision-making process.

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