The New York City Student Voice Collaborative (SVC) is a school district effort to reach high school students across the city and generate a wave of student-led school improvement.
The SVC brings together public high school students to conduct comprehensive studies of their schools, identify relevant challenges, and implement student-led school improvement programs in partnership with staff and students.
SVC meetings are bi-weekly in the fall and weekly in the spring, with approximately 30 sessions for the school year. The group consists of students of all grades (9-12) and all levels of prior leadership experience. SVC members are eligible to earn high school credit for conducting field work – meeting weekly with their school partner and liaison outside of class time to develop a student-led school improvement project – in addition to attending sessions.
Each school is represented by a pair of SVC students, and each pair of students is supported by a staff liaison who checks in and offers help. All participating students are members of their student councils, recognizing and reinforcing that student councils do the most important work at school, including planning, organizing, and engaging the school community. Schools form an action team of student and staff leaders that meets monthly to communicate and work on a school improvement initiative, with action teams serving as the heart of the collaborative school improvement process.
Principals oversee and champion the work, ensuring it is a priority, that there is support, and that students play regular meaningful roles.
SVC is a program of the Student Support Services section of the New York City Department of Education.
- Student Voice Collaborative official website
- CASEL: Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning Featured Program: The Student Voice Collaborative
- Student-led school improvement: Work, findings and next steps. Student Voice Collaborative by Children First Network 102, New York City Department of Education in 2011.
- Sokoloff-Rubin, Emma (2014) “Addressing adults who run the schools, students push their own proposals“, Chalkbeat.