If you’ve lived in MCPS for a while, I’m sure by now that you’re familiar with the term “SMOB.” Student Member of the Board, or SMOB, for short, is a county-wide representative elected by all MCPS secondary students. In the words of the official MCPS website, the SMOB “is a voting member of the Montgomery County Board of Education,” and “can vote on matters related to collective bargaining, capital, and operating budgets, and school closings, reopenings, and boundaries.”
Getting elected SMOB provides the victor with several once-in-a-lifetime opportunities and first-hand experiences unattainable anywhere else, so it’s no wonder that many students consider applying. However, the road to becoming SMOB is not an easy one. There are several steps you have to take, and it can be a pretty difficult affair to figure out on your own.
Luckily, on Dec. 6th and 9th, at 7-8 pm, MCPS’ Special Elections Committee are holding a virtual learning opportunity called “Learning to SMOB,” in order to educate interested parties about the SMOB position.
Although only ninth to eleventh graders are eligible to run, the online event is open to all MCPS students, and everyone is highly encouraged to participate. In this virtual learning opportunity, attendees will be able to receive more information about what SMOB is, the candidacy timeline, and meet previous SMOBs and SMOB nominees. Guest speakers include MCPS’ current SMOB, Hana O’Looney, her predecessors, Nate Tinbite and Ananya Tadikonda, as well as renowned county-wide student activist Zoe Tishaev.
This is a great opportunity for our Bengals to not only be educated about the SMOB position, but to also hopefully spark some inspiration about actually running. Historically, Blake has had low involvement in county-level activism, nor have we ever had a SMOB originate from our school. A Blake student becoming SMOB would be beneficial for not just us, but for MCPS as a whole.
Oftentimes, the Northeast Consortium, or NEC, is overshadowed by more affluent and predominantly white schools. This means our voices often go unheard when it comes to providing our say in county-wide issues. Having a SMOB from Blake, a school within the NEC, would finally allow underrepresented members of the county to be heard, ultimately aiding MCPS in its goal to become as inclusive as possible.
Take that leap of faith and attend this virtual opportunity. Even if you’re simply just playing around with the idea of running for SMOB, it will be a really good learning experience nonetheless. Simply attending introduces you to a world of new possibilities and connections. If interested, RSVP at this link to learn more about the esteemed role of SMOB. We hope to see one of our Bengals become a future Board Member and make us proud!