By infusing student voice into student/adult partnerships, Meaningful Student Involvement can foster healthy, successful community engagement. Community engagement is any sustained connection a community has with the larger community which it is a part of.
What It Is
Because of their knowledge and familiarity with the places they live, community engagement offers strong possibilities for Student/Adult Partnerships. This can include methodologies such as service learning and adventure education. Serving as more than mere puppets of well-meaning adults, students who are engaged as partners can serve as true liaisons between the school and the community. This allows schools to genuinely benefit from all of any communities’ inherent assets, apparent or hidden.
What It Does
Meaningful Student Involvement can substantiate community connections throughout the education system. Place-based learning happens in classroom activities rooted in local things, including the unique history, environment, culture, economy, literature, and art of a particular place. Any learning that happens through community engagement, including service learning, outdoor education and other approaches, can be enriched by the people who genuinely use the community on a regular basis – including adults and students.
How It Happens
Beginning at the conception of the school/community relationship, Meaningful Student Involvement can happen in a variety of ways.
- Planning activities can be conducted with students as partners. Working with adult allies, students can inform, drive and sustain community engagement in ways adults cannot.
- Building connections and enriching school/community ties, students can research education issues, actions, ideas and outcomes in communities.
- Students can facilitate learning activities within and throughout communities, representing their own perspectives as well as those of their peers, families and neighborhoods.
- Developing and conducting evaluation activities, student/adult partners can determine what perceptions, ideals and outcomes communities expect from schools.
- Participating as full members in decision-making activities, students can develop, drive and determine who, what, when, where, why and how community engagement happens.
- Engaging as advocates throughout their educations, students can connect with community allies, build community support and drive community perceptions about schools.
How It Happens
- Planning for Meaningful Student Involvement
- Researching Meaningful Student Involvement
- Teaching Others about Meaningful Student Involvement