It seems like a normal week at school (virtually, of course!). However, everyone is talking about some sort of......SMOB election thingy? What is it?
Well, SMOB stands for Student Member Of the Board (SMOB). The SMOB is, as MCPS defines one, "a voting member of the Montgomery County Board of Education." Our current SMOB is
Nick Asante. What this means for you is that the SMOB provides a student voice to the Board of Education. We elect our SMOBs every school year so that students can choose who represents them.
So what's a NomCon (Apart from a catchy phrase)? In a normal school year, delegates from every middle school and high school from the county would send their delegates in a school bus to a high school. Right at the doorway, people flood you with flyers, magnets, and other small trinkets to advertise their candidates. But once you enter, you spend the morning listening to riveting speeches where different SMOB candidates talk about their platform and background. Slowly, the candidates get eliminated through a series of votes and we're left with our two main contenders!
This year, the NomCom went virtual. After a warm welcome, all the interested candidates gave their speeches on why they should be the next SMOB. All of the speakers were
excellent, engaging, and thought provoking. After two rounds of eliminations, Hana O'Looney and Henry Kaye were chosen as our top two contenders for the Student Member of the Board (How fancy sounding)!
So, who are they? What issues do they focus on? What do they plan to do with their positions?
All very good questions you should ask.
Hana O'Looney is a junior at Richard Montgomery High School.
What are her credentials?
- Former MCJC President
-MOCO EmpowHER Co-Chair
-MOCO 4 Change Member Outreach Director
and much more....
What issues is she passionate about and what has she planned to do about it?
- Racial Equity and Justice
- Plans on removing armed police officers from school buildings
-Review the MCPS Anti-Racism Audit
- Sexual Harassment/Assault Justice
-Implement a policy to investigate all claims of sexual assault, no matter the nature of the victim's claim
- Only involve parents in sexual assault investigations if absolutely necessary
-Implement Menstrual hygiene dispensers in schools
-Dismantle dress codes that discriminate against girls of color
-All newly built bathrooms must be gender neutral
-Support for Disabled Students
-Making buildings more accessible
-Require close captioning on zoom lessons to make it more accessible
-COVID 19/Reopening Schools
-Monitor student's well being throughout reopening plans
-Continue to allow the option for families to switch to virtual learning or in person instruction even after schools have reopened
-College and Career Prep
-Create a free SAT and ACT prep course available to anyone
Remember, this is only a fraction of all the ideas that Hana has planned. You should check out her website to learn more about her goals and how she'll meet them (Hana's Website: https://www.hana4smob.com/)
Henry Kaye is also a junior at Richard Montgomery High School.
What are his credentials?
- Eagle Scout
-Small Business Owner
-Amateur Radio Operator
What issues is he passionate about and what does he plan to do about them?
-College and Career Readiness
- Implement more college and career readiness counselors in high schools
- Offer quality Quantitative Literacy Programs in all high schools
-Implement more counselors with specialties (Family, Psychology, Addiction)
-Special Education Programs
-Expand sports programs that are more accessible to students with differing abilities
-Conduct an analysis of all programs that are offered through schools and identify any obsolete programs
-Return to In-Person Learning
-Think about classes that can be held outdoors
-Classes that are not outdoors must be prioritized
-Ensure that the most vulnerable population returns to school first
Henry Kaye has more awesome ideas on his website. Make sure to check out his website so you can see for yourself how these ideas will affect you. (Henry's Website: https://www.henrysmob.com/)
There's a lot to think about when it comes to making this decision. But maybe this article makes it a little easier to weigh the pros and cons of each candidate and how you feel about each issue.
But we have a ways to go before we start voting. Election day is on April 21st.
Until then, stay safe, stay sweet, and stay super!
*Note: Each candidate's plans have been edited and shortened for clarity and brevity. To read in it's full context, make sure to read their website for their fully detailed plans and ideas.