Thursday, February 9, 2012

Student Voice

What are you doing to increase student voice at your school? What are the results? What new resources, tools, and ideas might others want to explore?


  1. I just wanted to share that the Gentlemen of Knowledge from Rivercrest High School and their mentors are being honored as "Champions of Rural Arkansas" by the Rural Community Alliance for the outstanding model they are providing for closing the achievement gap. If you want to know more about this student voice Blaine Alexander, ALA Capacity Builder.

    1. I have learned more about Gentlemen of Knowledge today from my fellow MPI, Tracy Allen. This sounds awesome and I hope to share this information with the high school principal at Prescott. Thanks for sharing this Diana.

    2. Student voice is one thing I need to work on based on my 360 information. I have begun to meet with our student council in regards to that survey. I would greatly appreciate any ideas to incorporate student voice more at CES. I was impressed with Tracy sharing info about Gentlemen of Knowledge with us in our group.

  2. I have really learned a lot this first day back about student voice. I plan to try and improve this through my student council group. Thank you to everyone for the innovative strategies. I plan to try 1 touch and 40/20 as time management strategies.

  3. Marye Jane BrockintonFebruary 29, 2012 at 2:22 PM

    My experience this year in the elementary setting has allowed me to understand that lower grades are told a lot of things but are rarely asked. Instead of student awards for what teachers felt students had achieved, students k-4 listed one thing they were proud that they learned this year. The responses spanned from reading to making a friend. This response was incorporated into a certificate. Each student walked to the front as their certificate was read. Parents and students loved this method of voice.

  4. Student voice has been improved several ways at Fouke Elementary from over 250 students interacting with the principal 30 minutes prior to and up until the first bell rings every morning,to visiting with different students during their lunch while dropping by during recess and other non-instructional times. The Safety Patrol, Ambassadors Group to the Green Club are ways for students to demonstrate leadership skills on campus and beyond. Surveys have also been completed and the data compiled to have our entire school community reflect on staying the course or making positive changes. Finally, just having those conversations with each individual child which can be organized by making sure each homeroom teacher sends at least one student to the office per week until every child has the oppotunity to be praised and met with the principal to express their thoughts throughout the school year.

  5. Brookland Middle uses a variety of techniques to garner student voice in our operations. We have an active student council that leads our Positive Behavior Intervention Sessions to instruct students on expected behaviors. We have a broad student survey that is collected each year. However, the crown jewel for us is the participation of our students on our ACSIP committees as we form our mission, vision and values. Students play an active role in the process of Brookland Middle becoming the best it can be.

  6. We at Beard Elementary are increasing the student voice through the Leader in Me Process. We started this process two years ago. It gives each student that walks through our doors an opportunity to be a leader. They are given the opportunity to lead luncheons with visitors that come to tour and learn about our school. They are given the opportunity to apply for jobs in which they must have a reference from their teacher. They also have to list their job qualifications. They are given opportunities to speak to local educators as well as educators from across the state about their experiences at Beard. They lead groups on tours throughout the building. Through this process we are developing confident student leaders that are very self assured individuals. Students have become a vital part in the vision and culture of our school. Pam Siebenmorgen

  7. We have also implemented the Leader in Me Process at Euper Lane Elementary. We have renamed and added student positions from "Helpers" to "student leaders". Students are responsible for the daily announcements, monthly newsletter, Euper Lane Bank, Eagle Eye News, Student Council, Student ambassadors and greeters, and various classroom leadership roles. Students serve on the ACSIP committee under the nutrition category. Students have the opportunity to respond to various surveys to get their input on various topics. It is always an eye opening experience to hear what they value and what they have to say.

  8. I have found that student voice is one of my challenges and I have done surveys and now I have to use the data to drive a plan. I would like more information on the Gentlemen of Knowledge and the Leader in Me Process. I am grasping for anything that will improve student involvement and achivement. Thanks for the information!!

  9. I actually met with my seventh grade students to discuss some concerns they had about a teacher. I took their concerns and used some of their questions as I interviewed a teacher. I have also assembled a group of African American males (15) in hopes of creating a group similar to the young men in Rivercrest. The name of the group is acronym that means Sterotypes Make A Student Hopeless...

  10. We have always had 5th grade ambassadors that are viewed as the "leaders" of our school in regards to special events. The past few years we have increased their involvement in ACSIP by holding student input meetings during which they can communicate what they feel are our school's academic/instructional strengths and weaknesses as well as suggest purchases for Title I funds.

    Our new student voice "project" relates to our school not meeting its required growth in math. We are holding Leadership Luncheons with the ambassadors at least quarterly and asking community leaders to share their thoughts on leadership in general as well as the importance of math in their careers. Some luncheons are planned on-campus, and other off-campus visits are in the works. The ambassadors understand that their responsibility is to share the math career info with their peers and help communicate that, regardless of how high our math scores are, there is always room for improvement.

  11. Another success story for Wooster Elementary in regards to its new focus on increasing student voice was the creation of a Student Yearbook Staff. Because our 360 Degree Assessment showed weaknesses in this area, certified and classified staff have brainstormed and implemented new ideas throughout the school year on this topic. Our computer lab manager who also is the yearbook adviser approached me early in the school year about leading the first ever student yearbook staff at the elementary school level. This also aided our distributed leadership focus, because after I gave her the "ok," she went with it. Students were required to submit applications for a specific yearbook staff position, including a written explanation as to why they had the skills and characteristics necessary for the "job." After students were selected for the staff, they meet regularly each week during the 5th grade intervention period as an enrichment activity. The junior high yearbook staff also met with these students to explain the importance of meeting deadlines as well as how their decisions as a staff would be a key component in "capturing" the school year. The student staff members decided on the theme, layout, photographs, highlights, etc. They photographed and took notes on special events throughout the school year, as well as publicized the yearbook and sales at day and night school events. The staff members were very visible during events such as Spirit Days, which also sent message to the community members and parents in attendance that we value our students' input and opinions. The year ended with a special preview party and breakfast so the students could celebrate their hard work, and they were also featured in the local newspaper.

  12. In 2012, our staff started on an amazing journey with Leader in Me (LiM). With the implementation of the LiM the first year, we saw the powerful impact student empowerment and leadership was having on our students as well as our staff. Year two of LiM, continued to bring success and many celebrations. We had students that knew and understood the 7Habits, had served in leadership roles the previous year, and were now truly starting to use the 7Habits outside of school. As educators, we have the ability to change a child’s life forever. To quote a line from the Spiderman movie, “With great power, comes great responsibility”. Our staff quickly realized their vision was to transform our building into an environment where leaders are discovered and never settle for less than their best. With this transformation, they started asking themselves, “Can a child do this?” With that question in mind, our staff began to release control to our students and our students started leading. Habit 8, finding your voice, was now visible throughout the school. Students were applying for leadership jobs in their classroom and throughout the school. They were monitoring their own progress and setting academic as well as personal goals; all of which they were putting in their Leadership notebooks. We had a Student Lighthouse Team that was now planning events and sharing ways to improve our school. At assemblies, our students would run the show. In April, we had our second Leadership Day. Community members, educators from across the state, the I Am A Leader Foundation, as well as the Arkansas Education Committee were all in attendance. Every child was given the opportunity to put their leadership skills into practice and truly live the vision that was set out for them. Our staff at Mary Mae, embraced the quote by Stephen Covey, “We only get one chance to change the life of a child. What are you going to do with that one chance?” The staff at Mary Mae Jones is growing leaders one child at a time so that every child is inspired and empowered to use their voice. With the implementation of the philosophy, we can tap into the strengths of our students so that they can see all of the possibilities that surround them.


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