Student member joins State Board
Hannah Groos, a 16-year-old sophomore at Norwalk Senior High School, has joined the State Board of Education as its student member. The appointment lasts for up to two years.
Hannah is the daughter of Christopher and Jennifer Groos.
In order to get to know the youngest member of the board, we asked her some questions about her educational experiences thus far, and her goals for service during her student member appointment on the State Board.
Why did you want to be on the State Board of Education?
In my daily life, I explore all opportunities to impact my community, partner with my peers, and find ways to productively address problems in my world. My mission is to help students recognize the power of their voice and use their individual abilities to positively impact their communities. The state education system plays an essential role in equipping students with the skills needed to become engaged citizens who aspire to positively impact our world’s ever-changing future. The student member role on the State Board of Education engages students in the state-wide education conversation and allows students to provide their unique perspective on the current education system.
I applied for this role because I wanted to bring a wide variety of student viewpoints to the conversations being held by the State Board of Education. I believe open communication and diverse perspectives lead to strong partnerships between students and educators. I hope to create more channels of open communication to help the Board achieve its vision to help Iowa students “become productive citizens in a democratic society and successful participants in a global community.“
As a student, you will bring a unique voice to the State Board of Education. What do you hope to impart on the board?
In the response above I explained my mission to inspire youth citizenship and the importance of involving students in the conversations held about our education system. I am involved in various activities and leadership roles within my school, community, and state that allow me to help students realize their voices matter and give them the tools they need to improve their community. These roles also give me the opportunity to network with hundreds of students from rural and urban areas across the state of Iowa which will allow me to bring a diverse group of student voices to the State Board of Education.
During my time as the student member on the State Board of Education, I hope to continue to create spaces where students can have important conversations about their educational experiences and recognize their voices matter. I aspire to share Iowa student perspectives with the State Board of Education to help collaboratively shape the future of education in Iowa.
What do you hope to learn by being on the State Board of Education?
During my time as the student member on the State Board of Education, I hope to gain a better understanding of the role the State Board of Education plays in guiding Iowa schools. The knowledge I gain about the responsibilities, standards, and procedures set by the State Board of Education and the connections I make through this position will allow me to better serve my peers. By facilitating open communication between a diverse group of students, educators and state education leaders I hope to play a small role in shaping the new future of education in the face of the COVID-19 challenge.
What has been your educational experience?
My educational experience has connected me with passionate teachers who act as mentors to each and every student in their classroom. The administration in my school district is a big supporter of student voices and continuously works with students and teachers to create new avenues for students to shape their educational experience.
My high school, middle school, and elementary school experiences were all shaped by the encouraging and supportive educators and administrators of the Norwalk Community School District. Attending elementary through high school with the same group of students gave me the opportunity to form lasting friendships and connections with each student in my grade. Throughout elementary school my teachers created opportunities and projects that challenged each student individually. As I moved into middle school and high school my teachers continued to engage my classmates and I each day through hands-on projects and spirited class discussions.
I have been able to engage in many extracurricular activities offered through the school, which has allowed me to build vital communication and leadership skills, along with lasting friendships. One of my most rewarding experiences occurred when I came to one of my teachers with an idea to start a Girls Who Code club at my school. She helped me navigate through the process of starting a school club, gain administrator approval, and successfully launch the club.
What are your favorite subjects in school? Why?
Since my freshman year I have always taken a wide variety of class subjects. I truly love each class I take because of my charismatic teachers and classmates, but I especially enjoy the advanced computer science, science, English, social studies, and math classes offered. These classes are my favorite subjects because of the zealous group of classmates they bring together and the unique learning environments in these classes.
The teachers in each of these classes make the subject, and themselves, relatable and give us the opportunity to think through and teach ourselves the content before it is directly taught to us. In addition to this, the teachers in each class create space for us to hold important and interesting conversations related to the skills and content we are learning and how it affects our daily lives.
Describe the attributes of your favorite teachers.
My favorite teachers have the ability to create a unique classroom environment that encourages honest discussions, invites student feedback, complements their individual character, and sparks interest in the content learned in the class. They are passionate and knowledgeable about what they are teaching and have the ability to articulate and express their passion for each skill they teach, but also care about each student on an individual level.
My favorite teachers have an open-door policy and act as mentors each day in the classroom, and outside of the classroom whenever a student needs advice, guidance, or someone to listen. My favorite teachers have helped me gain confidence by encouraging me to take on new experiences, challenging me in the classroom, and teaching me to recognize the power in my individual story and the ability I have to positively impact my community in the future, but most importantly right now.