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Information on both committees was brought to the school board Monday Dec. 14

Two new committees were announced at the Lake Oswego School Board meeting Monday, Dec. 14: the Student Superintendent Advisory Council and the Land Acknowledgement Ad Hoc Committee.

The Superintendent Student Advisory Committee is set to give students' voices a front row seat. The district had a similar committee under a previous superintendent, but its work had been paused by the time current Superintendent Lora de la Cruz arrived. Now, she's reigniting it.

The district worked with principals to gather nominations for the committee.

The district worked with principals to gather nominations for the committee. The committee is under the purview of the superintendent and is made up of middle and high school students across the district.

In her presentation to the board, de la Cruz said the council's charge is to provide her with insight on their experiences in LOSD schools and to inform next steps in the district.

"I'm just so excited to bring these students together. We were very intentional about finding a cross-representation of students whose voices are not always at the table," de la Cruz said.

The committee will hold its first meeting, virtually, in January.

The Land Acknowledgement Committee was created for the purpose of studying how and in what ways the district will acknowledge the native land it occupies.

LOSD sits on the ancestral land of the Clackamas Chinook and Tualatin Kalapuya peoples, as well as that of other Indigenous peoples who made their homes along the Willamette and Tualatin rivers, and Waluga Lake, known to many as Oswego Lake.

The committee application was open to students, staff and parents/guardians. Twenty-eight people applied and Director of Communications Mary Kay Larson brought 16 to the board for recommendation.

"We paid special consideration to people's qualifications … we also selected based on people's identified race and ethnicity, particularly those who identify as Native American or native Alaskan," Larson said.

She said they also made sure to have a balance on the committee in terms of school affiliation.

Board member Neelam Gupta and Teacher on Special Assignment Teresa Sanchez are spearheading the committee.

Gupta said they had such a great pool of applicants that it was hard to make decisions.

"I was so excited to see the student that first brought land acknowledgement to our attention apply and be one of the participants on the committee," Gupta said.

Gupta thanked community organizations LO for LOve and Respond to Racism for helping the district get the word out about the application.

Board Member Kirsten Aird emphasized her desire to involve native people from these lands in the process.

"I hope that we can get a tribal member from these lands to be with us on this journey," board member Kirsten Aird said.

Larson said that Teresa Sanchez is working on that, adding that ideally the committee will present its recommendation to the board in April or May.

The board approved a motion to accept the recommendation to name the committee members.

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