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 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."
"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."
"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."
"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."
Understanding the state of schools from coast to coast
Chicago Public Schools takes an innovative approach to implementing student voice.
Students of color don’t have people who understand them in their schools – it’s time for that to change.
Settling with the current state of primary education isn’t doing our current generation of students any favors.
Big Picture Learning innovates the typical school structure to expose students to real-world career development and nontraditional learning.
After the Student Voice Tour visited New Milford High School, students brainstormed an action plan to address bullying and culture issues.
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 August, September, or early October of 2019. We are able to be flexible depending on your school schedule and structure, but as all of our team members are students, Thursdays and Fridays are best for visits to take place.
One of our team members! You can read about the Student Voice team here.
There are three main activities that we offer on a school visit: a workshop, a roundtable, a storytelling session, and an information session. 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. Students are asked in school to think critically about everything, but school. A roundtable creates an environment where students are able to have a structured space to think about what school is like and what school can be. In a workshop, students will participate in an activity to help them think critically about what their ideal school looks like. Then, students are able to work together to identify school issues they'd like improve and determine steps they can take to work with adults to improve them. During a storytelling session, students will participate in activities that show them the power of storytelling as an entrypoint to authentic and productive conversations and show how storytelling can be used as a means to create empathy and change.
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.