New SMOB Arvin Kim elected


Photo courtesy MCPS

Arvin Kim was elected MCPS Student Member of the Board after receiving 58.7% of the vote.

Since 1978, the student member of the board (SMOB) position has been a vital part of the school board and advocacy for students. On Apr. 20, Arvin Kim, a junior at Walt Whitman, was elected for the SMOB position for the 2022-23 school year. 

Kim ran with a platform based on student support and equity. After two years of COVID being a part of everyday lives, Kim has different ways to support students’ mental health, with opportunities such as hiring psychologists and closing the opportunity gap in the county. Sophomore Madison Moorhead hopes Kim will incorporate mental health opportunities into his term. “I hope Arvin gets us more mental health days and wellness time because it benefits my overall health,” Moorhead said.

Kim’s platform focused on students and their overall necessities. Kim hopes to create a student SMOB advisory cabinet to represent the student voice from each middle and high school. He plans to have community events to access resources and opportunities for students and wants to minimize standardized testing. Sophomore Emily Liu said she thinks Kim won the election for a variety of reasons. “I think Arvin won the election based on his campaign because he had solid policies and outlined steps towards his goals,” Liu said. 

Kim had an active social media and physical presence in the schools, as he visited almost every single middle and high school in the county, and made sure to foster relationships with the different schools. Kim has over 8,900 followers on Instagram, making him a popular contender for SMOB. Sophomore Jax Kobey observed Arvin’s social aspects of his campaign. “I think both candidates utilized social media in similar ways, however, Arvin had more experience and a better platform,” Kobey said.

While Kim ran a successful campaign, his opponent Ibrahima (Baba) Cisse, a junior at Albert Einstein, also ran a strong campaign with closing the opportunity gap. Cisse said that where you live should not determine the quality of education. Liu hopes Kim contributes some of Cisse’s ideas to his term, especially decreasing the opportunity gap. “Something in particular that I hope that he will do is continue to visit underrepresented schools in the DCC and NEC throughout his term. In doing this, he’ll be able to listen to their concerns, and work with them to figure out how to best serve them and their communities,” Liu said. 

Kim said he hopes to change the curriculum to work with students to gain access to diverse and easy-to-reach sources, as well as to create career readiness programming and teach real-world skills to use after high school. To help obtain students’ support, Kim plans to have transparent grading policies between teachers and students, and better and healthier school lunches. Regarding COVID, Kim hopes to make virtual options always available to students and staff and use the funding to create resources for the loss of learning last year. Arvin plans to focus on students and to make sure that their voice is heard through his policies and actions.