RCS Students Lend Insight To Issues Facing Public Education


Twenty-two RCS high school students joined more than 260 of their peers in Nashville earlier this month to express their views on public education in Tennessee at the Tennessee School Boards Association (TSBA) Student Congress on Policies in Education (SCOPE).

The event took place on the Belmont University campus.

The following RCS students participated in the SCOPE event:

  • Elijah Sowder
  • Charlie Fairfax
  • Josie Bush
  • Alexandra Barajas-Urdier
  • Grace Deluca
  • Savannah Mejia
  • Robin Phelps
  • Molly Seals
  • William Myers
  • Ryan Dudney
  • Karstyn Bradley
  • Jenna Burnside
  • Brennan Mayhew
  • Annelyn Trail
  • Jalsley Sarpong
  • Haley Gauda
  • Oscar Tronco-Lopez
  • Aiyah Eaton
  • Regan Fisher
  • Chloe Harris
  • Mary Stahr
  • Crisanto Pena Perez

Now in its 41st year, SCOPE is designed to give students a voice where public education issues are concerned and to involve young people in finding solutions to the topics that are discussed.

Attendees participated in mock school board sessions, where they assumed the roles of school board members, school officials, parents, students and concerned citizens. School board members and superintendents led the sessions.

Students then chose speakers to represent each of their 16 small groups who went on to take part in full-scale debates on current education issues. This year’s four debate topics and results from the poll were:

  • Every student shall complete an internship as part of a local graduation requirement.
    (Agree: 47%, Disagree: 53%)
  • Artificial Intelligence may not be used in completing homework. (Agree: 50%, Disagree: 50%)
  • The school week shall be a four-day week. (Agree: 23%, Disagree: 77%)
    Student cell phone use during school hours shall be prohibited. (Agree: 35%, Disagree: 65%)

SCOPE delegates elected 2025 SCOPE officers and they are:

  • President: Kate Carter, Science Hill High School, Johnson City
  • 1st Vice President: Josalyn Harris, Morristown East High School, Hamblen County
  • 2nd Vice President: Drew Carver, Maryville High School, Maryville

The Tennessee School Boards Association was organized in 1939 to provide a united voice in education for local public school boards. In 1953, the State Legislature officially recognized TSBA as the “organization and representative agency of the members of school boards in Tennessee.”

The Tennessee School Boards Association is a service organization to all the state’s school boards. It serves as an advocate for the interests of Tennessee’s public school students and school districts and provides in-service training and assistance for the state’s 991 board of education members.

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