Student Voice provides students with the platform to change their schools and communities. We meet students where they are and identify student-centric solutions that address the systemic inequity in the American education system.
A collection of inspiring students we’ve met along the tour
"I would add giving students more of an opportunity to go to meetings and talk about the things they are seeing, rather than just having the board decide what the school needs. We’re the ones who are going to the school and going to classes 7 hours a day. We’re the ones who are the key stakeholders, so I want us to have more of an opportunity go to to meetings and discuss what goes on in school and how we can change it.
"I think there’s this gap between the faculty and the study body, which, of course would happen anywhere, but the fact that the faculty seems so untouchable I think there needs to be more personal connections. We shouldn't be afraid to address something."
"A lot of studies have shown that this time period is the time to work out who you are and how you express yourself. I don’t think the dress code should limit that expression and how people show who they are. Clothes are pretty cookie cutter here. So it’s hard because expression is limited by the dress code so you have to go out of your way to find other ways to express yourself."
"Even if you get to go to board meetings, if nothing happens and your ideas are disregarded, it’ll feel pointless to go to meetings. So, I think that, in a perfect world, we would actually implement student ideas that are beneficial to the school. I understand that not everyone’s ideas can be implemented successfully, but I think effort to actually understand and implement the ideas that are beneficial to the school would be a good thing."
"I hope teachers get better salaries and smaller class sizes. Some of these teachers are getting paid $20k, and I don't know how they even live here. My government class had 41 people."
"Schools want to provide field trip opportunities, counselors, nurses and librarians. I would like to see funding so we can have those things."
Understanding the state of schools from coast to coast
Students at High Tech High want to preserve their unique culture and student-focused methods.
Students feel a growing disconnect with administrators, and as a result feel like the CHAMPS culture is fading.
Students revealed issues within their school, ranging from harassment of LGBT students to crumbling facilities. Within the hour long roundtable table, the students’ perception of their role within the school changed: students discovered that their voice was important and they could take an active role in decision making in their school.
Student Voice worked with the Swansea Chapter to expand its network outside of their district by connecting them with students impacted by inequity across the state and other student groups in Iowa and Texas.
By the time that the Student Voice team returned to Swansea, the chapter had organized a summit for students across the state to create an action plan for improving education equity, engaged in South Carolina Student Lobby Day, worked with their faculty to create a student feedback process through project based learning , successfully advocated for a 25.4 million dollar bond referendum to update district facilities, and worked with state decision-makers to discuss how South Carolina funding could be changed in order to support low-income schools. Student Voice continues to support Swansea students by providing platforms for further amplification of their successes.
There is no cost to have Student Voice come to your school! All expenses and costs are covered by a grant from Facebook Education and the Facebook Community Leadership Program.
A school visit can take place during the Spring 2019 semester or in September of 2019. We are able to be flexible depending on your school schedule and structure, but as all of our team members are students ourselves, Thursdays and Fridays are typically the best days for us to travel.
One of our team members! You can read about the Student Voice team here.
There are four main activities that we offer on a school visit: a workshop, a roundtable, a storytelling session, and an information session. In a workshop, students will participate in an activity to help them think critically about what their ideal school looks like and the steps they can take to improve their school. In a roundtable, the Student Voice team member facilitates a conversation in which students have the time and space to discuss the state of their school and school climate. During a storytelling session, students will participate in activities that show them the power of storytelling as an entrypoint to authentic and productive conversations. Information sessions can take place with students, teachers, faculty, administration, or a combination of these stakeholders. In this session, we will discuss what student centered learning looks like and break down misconceptions about student voice.
We hope that a visit from Student Voice inspires students to become changemakers, shows them that their voices matter in their school and community, and makes them want to channel this passion into the formation of a Student Voice Chapter. The chapters program provides students with resources, curriculum, professional development opportunities, and support in creating a Student Voice club in their school to elevate student perspectives in policy decisions. Additionally, we hope that all students join Youth United for Action (YU4A), an online community for youth activists and changemakers.
Within the next day you’ll receive an email from Megan Simmons, our Director of Strategy, so that you can schedule a phone call to talk about your school and plan a visit.