The History of SoundOut

For more than a decade, SoundOut has been helping educators around the world engage students as partners to improve the education system. Following is a short summary of our history.


SoundOut Timeline

  • 2001: Washington State Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction publishes Meaningful Student Involvement Guide by Adam Fletcher.
  • 2002: Adam Fletcher founded the Campaign for Meaningful Student Involvement.
  • 2003: HumanLinks Foundation becomes the founding funder and supports the program for five years.
  • 2003: The Campaign for Meaningful Student Involvement is renamed SoundOut.
  • 2003: The SoundOut Pilot Project is launched in partner schools in the California, Washington and the United Kingdom.
  • 2003: SoundOut publishes Meaningful Student Involvement Guide to Inclusive School Change.
  • 2003-2005: SoundOut support high quality student voice in service learning implementation in more than 50 K-12 schools.
  • 2003: The SoundOut School Improvement provided training and Dayton HS.
  • 2003: SoundOut begins partnering with Service Learning Seattle
  • 2005: SoundOut released the Meaningful Student Involvement Guide to Students as Partners in School Change,Meaningful Student Involvement Research Guide, Stories ofMeaningful Student Involvement and Meaningful Student Involvement Resource Guide.
  • 2006: Washington State Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction contracts SoundOut to conceive and implement the Changing SPACES project.
  • 2005: SoundOut partners with Youth On Board to assist with their school-based work.
  • 2005: SoundOut partners with Seattle Public Schools Equity and Race Relations Office to launch Student Equity Teams across the city through 2007.
  • 2005: SoundOut’s Adam Fletcher is invited to present on Meaningful Student Involvement to a conference in São Paulo, Brazil led by Projeto Juventude of Instituto Cidadania.
  • 2007: The U.S. Department of Education began using SoundOut Frameworks for Meaningful Student Involvement to promote Safe and Supportive Learning Environments.
  • 2007: SoundOut Student Voice Curriculum was initially released
  • 2007: SoundOut partners with the New York State Student Support Services Center to support its Supportive School Environments project.
  • 2008: Education Leadership publishes Adam Fletcher’s article, “The Architecture of Ownership.”
  • 2010: SoundOut partners with the National PTA to design, facilitate and evaluate their national Youth Leadership and Policy Institute.
  • 2010: SoundOut’s Adam Fletcher writes a series of articles for the ASCD Whole Child Initiative included a number of articles
  • 2010: Scholastic’s District Administration magazine featured SoundOut in a 2010 story.
  • 2011: SoundOut partnered with Alberta Education to support their student engagement initiative.
  • 2011: SoundOut partners with Educational Service District 123 in Pasco, Washington to support their 21st Century Community Learning Centers programs in 10 schools for two years.
  • 2011: SoundOut partners with Educational Service District 113 in Olympia, Washington to provide project leadership and facilitation to a 5-county collective impact project.
  • 2011: SoundOut partners with Catalyst Miami (formerly Miami/Dade County Human Service Coalition) to implementing the SoundOut Student Voice Curriculum in several Miami high schools, continuing to present.
  • 2014: SoundOut releases The Guide to Student Voice and School Boards of the Future: Students in Education Policy-Making.
  • 2014: SoundOut partners with Kid FRIENDLY Kentucky to support their Race to the Top grant project focused on personalized learning environments.
  • 2014: SoundOut’s Adam Fletcher is invited to speak on Meaningful Student Involvement at the annual CENPEC conference in São Paulo, Brazil.
  • 2015: SoundOut releases the Meaningful Student Involvement Handbook.
  • 2015: SoundOut relaunches its website at SoundOut.org.
  • 2015: SoundOut hosts its 4th Student Voice Summer Camp at Cleveland High School in Seattle.
  • 2016: SoundOut hosts its 5th Student Voice Summer Camp at Cleveland High School in Seattle.
  • 2017: SoundOut releases Student Voice Revolution: The Meaningful Student Involvement Handbook.

 


SoundOut History

Born from the System

After working for Washington State’s education agency as their first-ever student engagement specialist and conducting a statewide action research project focused on student engagement, in 2002, Adam Fletcher founded the Campaign for Meaningful Student Involvement. Securing support from the HumanLinks Foundation, in 2003 the program changed its name and started working as SoundOut with education partners across the United States to promote student voice throughout education. SoundOut began deep partnerships in several schools to pilot programs, including Douay Matyrs School, Sussex, UK; Martin Luther King Jr. Middle School, Oakland, CA; Capitol High School, Olympia, WA; Secondary Academy for Success, Bothell, WA; and Spanaway ES, Spanaway, WA. SoundOut received primary support from the HumanLinks Foundation from 2003 to 2008. In 2005, we released our publication series on Meaningful Student Involvement, including the Guide to Students as Partners in School Change, Research, Stories and Resources. During this period, SoundOut also support high quality student voice in service learning implementation in more than 50 K-12 schools across Washington State, focusing on professional development and evaluation.

Strengthening School Transformation

In 2003, SoundOut partnered with the Washington State Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction to launch a statewide school improvement planning process focused on student/adult partnerships. This pilot program worked with 20 K-12 schools in rural and urban districts, engaging more than 3,000 students and educators in partnerships that examined and took action on issues students thought were important. These schools included Dayton HS, Dayton, WA; Friday Harbor HS, Friday Harbor, WA; Ridgeview ES, Yakima, WA; and Lewis & Clark MS, Yakima, WA. SoundOut began a partnership with Service Learning Seattle in 2003 that continues to present, providing consulting, technical assistance and tools for thousands of students and educators in the Seattle area. Ten high schools focused on involving students in creating environments in schools that engage students. Activities included professional development for educators and administrators, training for students, and evaluations of school projects. Partner schools included Colfax High School, Harbor High School (Aberdeen) and Wishkah Valley High School.

Going National

From 2005 through 2008, SoundOut supported Youth On Board activities in several schools and district programs in Boston, Massachusetts. Our work focused on Monument High School; the Social Justice Academy; the Engineering School; the Community Academy of Science and Health; BSAC (Boston Student Advisory Council); and the district Student Engagement Advisory Council. Seattle Public Schools began a partnership with SoundOut through their Equity and Race Relations Office in 2005. SoundOut partnered with the Washington State Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction Title V and Innovative Programs to facilitate the Changing SPACES (Students Partnering to Advocate for Change in Environments in Schools) program from 2006 to 2007. For the following three years, SoundOut supported Student Equity Teams in several public high schools, including Garfield HS, West Seattle HS, Roosevelt HS, Cleveland HS, and Franklin HS. These schools engaged more than 300 students in action projects focused on student-driven anti-discrimination work focused on stopping bias against race, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation and other issues in school. In 2007, the U.S. Department of Education began using SoundOut’s materials to promote Safe and Supportive Learning Environments, and that same year the SoundOut Student Voice Curriculum was initially released; it has since been revised several times.

International Leadership

The New York State Student Support Services Center partnered with SoundOut from 2007 through 2009 to consult its Supportive School Environments project. Our outreach centered on on Meaningful Student Involvement, and SoundOut provided ongoing training and consulting to the NYS Student Support Services staff and hundreds of K-12 schools statewide. Our activities included keynote presentations, individual school consultations and technical assistance at a number of events statewide. across the state. In 2008, Education Leadership published an article by SoundOut founding director Adam Fletcher called “The Architecture of Ownership.” During the 2010-11 school year, SoundOut worked with the National PTA to design, facilitate and evaluate a national Youth Leadership and Policy Institute. The National PTA engaged SoundOut in designing a program focused on engaging high school and college students as education policy advocates. The National PTA Public Policy Team wanted to move students from being the passive recipients of school decision-makers to active partners. The 16-hour curriculum was tested with high reviews with a national audience of high school and college students. The ASCD Whole Child Initiative included a number of articles by Fletcher on their blog in 2010, and District Administration magazine featured SoundOut in a 2010 story. In 2011, SoundOut helped Alberta Education examine their student engagement initiative through strategic consultation with provincial leaders and keynoting their annual student voice conference.

Sustaining Impact

During the 2011-12 and 2012-13 school years, Educational Service District 123 in Pasco, Washington, partnered with SoundOut to provide a year-long series of trainings focused on integrating Meaningful Student Involvement into 21st Century Community Learning Centers programs. More than 40 participants attended more than 25 hours of professional development throughout the school year. From 2011 through today, SoundOut has supported Catalyst Miami (formerly Miami/Dade County Human Service Coalition) in implementing the SoundOut Student Voice Curriculum. Working in underserved schools in the city, Catalyst Miami has served more than 400 students at Booker T. Washington HS, Miami Beach HS, Charles R. Drew MS and Miami Northwestern HS. In 2014, SoundOut released both The Guide to Student Voice and School Boards of the Future: Students in Education Policy-Making. From 2011 to present we have provided project leadership and facilitation to the Youth Alliance, a 5-county collective impact project of Educational Service District 113 in Washington State. In 2014, a program called Kid FRIENDLY Kentucky partnered with SoundOut to consult more than 40 K-12 schools in the state, providing guidance on infusing student voice throughout school improvement measures.

A Global Future

SoundOut has collaborated with many other partnered with many other organizations throughout the years, including several international organizations such as Connect for Student Participation, an education magazine in Australia; the Projeto Juventude of Instituto Cidadania (2005) and CENPEC, both in São Paulo, Brazil (2014). In 2015, we are releasing the Meaningful Student Involvement Handbook and forming several new partnerships focused on bringing Meaningful Student Involvement to the forefront of today’s school transformation efforts!


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