SMOB reaches out to school

Ananya Tadikonda visits to convene with She’s the First

Nitya Kumar
managing editor

Student Member of the Board senior Ananya Tadikonda came to this school on Sept. 18 to meet with She’s the First, a popular club that fundraises and advocates for girls’ education, to discuss her new projects and to hear from the student community.

Tadikonda is the 41st student member of the Board of Education. She is a member of the Board’s Fiscal Management Committee and the Policy Management Committee, and is working with students to understand their perspectives and have an idea of the issues to bring up to the Board.

Tadikonda is focusing her agenda currently on certain main issues so that she can help people. She said that her focus is on diversifying schools to reflect MCPS socioeconomically and demographically, expanding Mental Health and Wellness programming at all schools, and getting equitable resource access.

This school was the first of many school visits Tadikonda will be making to thoroughly research for her position. “Ananya wanted to reach out to Wootton since she’s just starting to come to schools to reach out to students and Wootton is a good place to start because of its diversity. Ananya talked about what the school board has been discussing, like changing the calendar, getting all four- and five-year-olds into preschool, diversity in schools, and what they’re doing with the funds from grants given to them. We also discussed some other important issues like diversity and health education,” She’s the First junior officer Ellie Helgeson said.

Tadikonda has been working on the Early Learning Initiative for pre-kindergarten and Head Start. The pre-kindergarten and Head Start programs offer a proper educational experience to income-eligible children so they develop skills and are prepared for kindergarten and more. At the meeting, she expanded and focused on this project. “The data in other parts of the country has really showed that this helps kids who receive the short end of the stick in terms of the opportunity gap,” Tadikonda said.

Tadikonda also told the members of the meeting about her key advocacy for the Diversity Amendment. “One of the board members proposed an amendment to our policy for boundary changes, which is to give special weight to diversity. The first factor to be considered when we do these boundaries is the diversity in the schools, racially, ethnically, or socioeconomically. It’s important for kids to be in a diverse environment on both sides of the spectrum so I seconded this amendment. Last year, this amendment failed. If you guys care about this, you should send in emails to the Board of Education email address or come out and testify. This is how you can show your support for diversifying schools and making sure that there is equity in the resources that we give to each school,” Tadikonda said.

She’s the First, the student government, and the school community play important roles to help Tadikonda in her future projects so more progress can be made. Tadikonda said she wants students to be informed. “Spread the message of the work I am doing so students are aware. Relay student feedback and questions to me,” Tadikonda said.