Meaningful Student Involvement in 21st Century Community Learning Centers

For more than 20 years, the US Department of Education has been funding a program called the 21st Century Community Learning Centers across the country. Focused on supporting student learning during out-of-school time (OST), the program has a lot of students of color, low income students, and other learners who face disparities in learning, teaching and leadership throughout their educational experiences. This article is about the role of Meaningful Student Involvement in these programs.

This is the logo for the 21st Century Community Learning Centers.
This is the logo for the 21st Century Community Learning Centers.

The 21st Century Community Learning Centers, or 21st CCLCs, are working in almost every state across the country to help students in high-poverty and low-performing schools get more academic enrichment. Focused primarily on providing a safe and supportive learning environments, the 21st CCLCs focus on STEM, or science, technology, engineering and math. 21st CCLC also help in other subject areas in schools, including language arts, social studies, heath and art, as well as other topics, too. All of this is intended to improve student learning,

One of the most ambitious aspects of some 21st CCLCs are their efforts to foster student-centered learning. Student-centered learning often includes student-driven interests, personalized learning, and other strategies that place students in the middle instead of educators. There are missed opportunities hiding in plain sight that can enhance 21st CCLCs though, and one of them is Meaningful Student Involvement.

Meaningful Student Involvement is the sustained systemic infusion of student voice throughout education in order to foster student engagement in school, communities, and democracy. Meaningful Student Involvement can be a key to successful 21st CCLCs. Since 2008, I have worked in dozens of schools across Washington state and beyond, including supporting the Washington State Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction and the New York State Student Support Services Center as they implement their 21st CCLCs programs in the past. All of my work through SoundOut has focused on Meaningful Student Involvement.

In each of these programs, I have taught educators of all stripes different ways Meaningful Student Involvement can improve their programs. This includes…

  • Meaningful Student Involvement in learning and teaching
  • Meaningful Student Involvement in program design
  • Meaningful Student Involvement in program staffing
  • Meaningful Student Involvement in program evaluation, and
  • Meaningful Student Involvement in the climate of 21st CCLCs

Each of these has allowed educators in these programs to improve student-driven learning in many ways. For instance, actively fostering Meaningful Student Involvement can empower learners of all ages with the skills and knowledge they need to investigate, engineer, and implement solutions as they create new knowledge and learning for themselves and their peers. Implementing Meaningful Student Involvement to improve the climate of 21st CCLCs can look like embracing social-emotional learning through practical steps reflecting the values and perspectives of schools, families, and communities students belong to.

I have discovered that embracing Meaningful Student Involvement doesn’t always come easily to 21st CCLCs staff though. Despite their best intentions, it can be an uphill climb for educators who’ve never experienced positive, proactive Meaningful Student Involvement to do the same.

That’s why SoundOut provides a variety of tools and supports to scaffold educators’ learning to support Meaningful Student Involvement in 21st CCLCs. Through my workshops and keynote speeches, 21st CCLCs staff can find practical ways of understanding Meaningful Student Involvement, effective implementations of Meaningful Student Involvement in programming, and powerful ways to measure the impact and outcomes of Meaningful Student Involvement in 21st CCLCs.

Contact SoundOut today to discuss how to bring us to your area for a workshop on Meaningful Student Involvement in 21st Century Community Learning Centers.

You Might Like…

Elsewhere Online

The Guide to Student Voice Advertisement
Order The Guide to Student Voice today!

2021-22 SoundOut Workshops

Our workshops…

  • Facilitate learning that transforms learning, teaching and leadership throughout education. Our learning opportunities are highly interactive, engaging, and pragmatic;
  • Increase organizational capacity to build meaningful learning and cultivate the strategic leadership and holistic engagement of students throughout schools;
  • Bring experience to life for educators, parents and others by sharing powerful stories, meaningful lessons, and engaging presentations designed to fit your goals;
  • Build skills and knowledge for students, educators, and communities about the impact of Meaningful Student Involvement, student voice, student engagement and more!

Read on for details or contact us to learn more.

SoundOut Workshops

1: How To Re-Engage In Your Job

Description: Personalize your job, improve your school’s culture, and build new skills and knowledge within yourself with our dynamic, engaging workshop. Participants re-engage with their job, the purpose of education, and the point of democracy.

2: How To Re-Engage Students

Description: Examine the basics, facts and best practices nationwide for getting students engaged and excited to be in schools. Participants in this workshop learn powerful concepts, explore substantial stories, and get unique tools.

3: How To Meaningfully Involve Students

Description: Meaningful Student Involvement relies on intentional relationships developed with power, trust and respect. Participants explore possibilities and create sustainable outcomes for students as learning partners.

4: Nontraditional Student Leadership

Description: Engage all students as leaders with effective, exciting and realistic activities and ideas. Participants in this workshop research, plan next steps, and more with powerful tools, deep learning, and significant opportunities to challenge themselves and grow their classrooms.

Contact us to learn more!

You Might Like…

2020-2021 SoundOut Workshops

SoundOut facilitates learning activities in K-12 schools across the United States and Canada! During the 2020-2021 school year, we’re providing highly interactive, action-oriented online workshops focusing on…

MEANINGFUL STUDENT INVOLVEMENT

  • Engaging ALL Students in Meaningful Ways
  • Students as Partners in School Improvement
  • Infusing Meaningful Student Involvement throughout Education
  • Ending White Supremacy in Student Involvement

STUDENT VOICE

  • How To Engage Student Voice in Schools
  • Empowering Student Identity
  • Building School Leadership through Student Voice
  • Moving from Student Voice to Meaningful Student Involvement

Want to learn more? Call our office at (360) 489-9680 or contact us.

You Might Like…

Profession Development for Students on School Boards and School Board Members

SoundOut teaches school board members how to engage students on school boards. Our training focuses on a variety of roles for students, as well as the skills and action school boards need to take to on-board students and sustain their meaningful involvement. This training has happened in Michigan, Washington, Vermont and Alberta. 

Download our flyer »

Contact us for information and call (360) 489-9680.

You Might Like…

2019-2020 School Workshops

SoundOut facilitates learning activities in K-12 schools across the United States and Canada! During the 2019-2020 school year, we’re focusing on…

STUDENT VOICE

  • How To Infuse Student Voice in Classroom Learning
  • Empowering Student Identity
  • Building School Leadership through Student Voice

STUDENT ENGAGEMENT

  • Curricular Strategies for Student Engagement
  • Transforming School Climate
  • Engaging Disengaged Students

MEANINGFUL STUDENT INVOLVEMENT

  • Students as Partners in School Improvement
  • Infusing Meaningful Student Involvement throughout Education

Download our 2019-2020 SoundOut School Workshops flyer!

Want to learn more? Call our office at (360) 489-9680 or contact us.

You Might Like…

Training about Students on School Boards

This is the SoundOut Students On School Boards Toolkit by Adam Fletcher. It includes research, examples and more. SoundOut offers professional development and training! For more information contact us.

SoundOut offers ONLINE training about students on school boards, including professional development for adults and student workshops.

In a climate where more attention is being paid to student voice in the classroom, many are asking how school boards might approach incorporating students into their work in a way that goes beyond inviting someone to report on Homecoming festivities.

Bring SoundOut to your school district or conference for a workshop dedicated to understanding the power of student voice and the possibilities of student representation on the board of education. Adam Fletcher, a leading expert on student voice and representation, explores the benefits, challenges and opportunities for engaging students in the work of boards in a deep and meaningful way.

Outcomes

In our sessions about students on school boards, participants…

  • Learn what student voice is, what it does, who it is for and how it happens;
  • Explore roles for students on school boards, including activities, topics and outcomes that are appropriate for them;
  • Understand how students are engaged on boards, including recruitment, training, maintaining and evaluating their roles, and;
  • More!

For more information including fees and scheduling, contact SoundOut today!

Students on School Boards Toolkit

Students on School Boards in Canada

You Might Like…

Elsewhere Online

2016 SoundOut Summer Camp

The 2016 SoundOut Summer Camp is happening August 1-12 at Cleveland High School in Seattle, Washington. Over the last five years, SoundOut has partnered with Seattle Public Schools to teach more than 100 students how to change the world! This year, we’re teaching students how to TAKE CONTROL of their education and how to MAKE SCHOOLS BETTER.

 

Seattle students at the SoundOut Summer Camp
Students at the 2015 SoundOut Summer Camp at Cleveland High School in Seattle, Washington.

 

The SoundOut Summer Camp is for Cleveland students who want to improve their learning and their school. Everyday includes workshops, activities, games, videos and reading.

By participating (full attendance) in this program, students will receive 0.5 elective credit, and will be able to earn up to 20 service learning hours for participating in continuing activities throughout the school year.

Related Content

 

 

 

SoundOut Student Symposium

SoundOut Student Symposium Flyer

 

SoundOut Student Symposium

Saturday, February 20, 2016
Seattle, Washington

This retreat for high schoolers is designed to increase student ownership in their education. Spending the day with master facilitator Adam Fletcher, students will participate in highly-interactive, hands-on activities to discover what education is, what it does, why it matters and how they can change it. Specifically, students will become familiar with multiple intelligences; examine the value of formal and informal learning; learn the parts of the education system; and examine the basics of student voice.

Registration is required. Seating is limited. Group pricing is available. For location, pricing and information, please email Lois Brewer at lbrewer@seattleschools.org

 

Presentations about Students on School Boards

SoundOut staff facilitating a student learning session at the Washington State Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction in Olympia, Washington
SoundOut staff facilitating a student learning session at the Washington State Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction in Olympia, Washington.

 

Here is a collection of presentations SoundOut has shared focused on engaging students on school boards. For more information about our presentations, contact us.

Intro to Student Voice on School Boards

Workshop Description: This interactive session examines the practice of engaging students on school boards. Using research, tools and examples from across the U.S., participants will explore why student voice should be engaged in formal district decisionmaking, best practices, and potential roadblocks. This session also highlights practical steps and important resources for school boards to move forward.

 

 

How to Engage Students on School Boards

Workshop Description: Participants in this session will be introduced to SoundOut’s frameworks for Meaningful Student Involvement. It will feature several interactive opportunities. Participants will examine which students to engage on school boards, how to engage them, when it matters, and what difference students can make in board decision-making and throughout the entire education system.

 

Related Articles

 

School Boards of the Future by Adam Fletcher

Student Courts and Meaningful Student Involvement

Students deliberate on important issues in a Seattle high school.
Student and adults deliberate together on important issues in a Seattle high school.

Student courts are one approach to engaging students as partners in school discipline. Student courts can happen in elementary, middle, and high school, and when they operate outside schools, they are youth courts. Most often, they provide conflict resolution and interpretation of student bylaws and constitutions. When infused with classroom learning goals and provided equitable opportunities for decision-making as adults, student courts can reflect Meaningful Student Involvement at the highest levels.

What They Do

Elementary, middle and high schools are using student courts as a way to engage students as partners in safe and supportive learning environments. They are also using student courts to teach students about justice and court issues, and to provide an alternative to other forms of punishment for students who disobey rules in order to defeat the school-to-prison pipeline and engage disengaged students.

How They Happen

The first step to creating a student court is to understand that these bodies are basically juries that are made of students alone. Whether happening on the classroom, building, district or state level, student courts should consider these five issues:

  1. Composition – Who will be on the court? How many students will be allowed? How will they be selected? How will they be trained? How long can they be members of the court?
  2. Jurisdiction – What types of offenses will the court rule on? How do student confidentiality laws and overall student safety affect the court?
  3. Preparation – How will students on the court will be trained to be effective and impartial jurors? How will adults learn about student courts?
  4. Operation – When, where and how will student court hearings be conducted? Who will evaluate student success? How will students be acknowledged for participating?
  5. Partnerships – How will student/adult partnerships be evident throughout the proceedings? Who will decide which cases the court hears? Who holds ultimate veto power over the court?

 

As more schools and districts realize the educational potential of student courts for both the students serving on them and those that go before them, they are becoming a popular way to engage students in school decision-making. Like other forms of student government, student court promotes student voice by engaging students as responsible, equitable partners in affecting and shaping schools.

What It Looks Like

Students in Marin County, California, have been partners in youth courts for more than a decade. Committed to eliminating the school-to-prison pipeline, these students learn to use restorative justice practices that keep students in schools and out of the juvenile justice system. With a non-adversarial, student-to-student philosophy at its core, Marin County youth courts have diverted more than 900 students from the juvenile justice system. Their completion rate is 95%, with only 8% recidivism, startling naysayers who insist youth courts are “soft on crime”.

Related Content

Elsewhere Online