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!

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Stop White Supremacy in Student Voice

“NO RACISM ALLOWED,” announced a loud banner across the school’s entrance. I’d come this high school in Michigan to train the new SoundOut Student Equity Team, and was greeted by a handful of students.

Seattle students at the SoundOut Summer Camp
A group of high school students in a SoundOut training.

As we walked through the hallways on a winter day in 2018, I listed to stories from the students about their work to challenge white supremacy in the education system. It was an alternative high school for historically disengaged learners in a mid-sized urban school districts. The students led training for their peers and teachers, and the building was known for being progressive. It was an inspiring experience.

During our workshop focused on Meaningful Student Involvement, the students talked openly about white supremacy, white fragility, willful ignorance, whitesplaining and all bias, especially discrimination and hatred against Black people, American Indians, and other people of color. All sophomores and juniors, they shared that in their careers as students they’d experienced these realities directly as racist slurs, white supremacist curriculum, the school-to-prison pipeline and other hate-filled, explicitly discriminatory activities in schools. However, they also said that white supremacy poisoned their experiences from their youngest years through micro-aggressions and other toxic behaviors by teachers, principals and other students, including being facetious, making light, being condescending, gaslighting and otherwise demeaning, belittling, or insulting Black people, American Indians, and other people of color.


White Supremacy in Student Voice

Do your student voice activities reflect these traits? These traits are damaging to both students of color and white students. They reflect predominant white culture, and should be addressed and dismantled through Meaningful Student Involvement.

  • Perfectionism, instead of a culture of appreciation
  • Sense of Urgency, instead of realistic workplans and outcomes
  • Defensiveness, instead of understanding that school cannot in and of itself facilitate or prevent abuse
  • Quantity Over Quality, instead of fostering processes and quality goals in your planning
  • Worship of the Written Word, instead of accepting that there are many ways to get to the same goal
  • Paternalism or Adultism, instead of making sure that all students know and understand who makes what decisions in the class, program, school and education system
  • Either/Or Thinking, instead of noticing when students use either/or language and pushing to come up with more than two alternatives
  • Power Hoarding, instead of including power sharing in your class, program, school and education system’s values statement
  • Fear of Open Conflict, instead of handling conflict before conflict happens and distinguishing between being polite and raising hard issues
  • Individualism, instead of honoring students based on their ability to work as part of a team to accomplish shared goals
  • Progress is Bigger, More, instead of fostering deep impact, meaningful processes, and holistic outcomes of all involved
  • Objectivity, instead of realizing that every student has their own world view and that every student’s world view affects the way they understand things
  • Right to Comfort, instead of understanding that discomfort is at the root of all growth and learning

Adapted from Dismantling Racism: A Workbook for Social Change Groups, by Kenneth Jones and Tema Okun, ChangeWork, 2001


The reason I was there was to learn with them about how Meaningful Student Involvement has no room for racism. Ultimately, we resolved that white supremacy should be canceled from every student voice activity of any kind. These students were determined to immediately and completely address all white supremacy in their schools, whether from other students expressing internalized racism, or from educators who were resistant or ignorant of their own indiscretions and hatred for students of color. They were determined to make their school stop being racist.

Unfortunately, in my experience working with hundreds of schools nationwide, this isn’t the case across the United States. A lot of well-meaning but poorly informed student voice activities inadvertently reflect an overwhelming trend towards white supremacy, including featuring white student voice as representative of all student voice; homogenizing student leadership and acting as if small elite groups of designated student leaders can represent large swaths of the student body effectively, and otherwise diminishing the capacity, power and possibilities of African American, Latino/a and Hispanic, American Indian and other students of color to share their voices in positive ways throughout the education system in order to affect curriculum, learning, teaching and leadership.

Worse still, most of the current practices in student voice clearly and wholly minimize and undermine the tremendous ways that students can be meaningfully involved in the entire functioning of schools, including the teaching of classes; research of educational practices; planning curriculum, calendars and policies; evaluation of learning, teaching and climates; decision-making at all levels; and advocacy for what students themselves believe in.

SoundOut Student Voice Team at Cleveland High School, Seattle WA
Students at the SoundOut Student Voice Summer Camp in Seattle, Washington.

The potential of students becoming substantively involved in determining the course of their own learning, let alone leading the entire education system, is regularly dismissed by educators who claim the lack of students’ abilities, skills and knowledge is the undoing of Meaningful Student Involvement. However, more than twenty years of research clearly shows otherwise.

I am beginning to understand that these concerns are merely convenient cloaks for “keeping kids in their place.” By denying their roles, adults everywhere are working hard to ensure the status quo is maintained. Today, however, we know this is merely the defense of white supremacy everywhere. In order to confront our collective racism, white supremacy, willful ignorance, and ANY bias against students of color, every school with every grade everywhere across the country must shift to Meaningful Student Involvement immediately.

Spaces for Student Voice
These are the spaces where student voice should be engaged throughout education.

Fostering the characteristics of Meaningful Student Involvement is the first step in this process. Moving towards re-conceptualizing the roles of students throughout the education system is further down the line. Ultimately, we must establish the role of the Public Student, whose sole purpose is to actualize the potential of democratic society be becoming an educated, engaged member of the world around them through learning, teaching and leadership.

Are you ready to stop white supremacy in education? The first step is to stop white supremacy in student voice. What are you going to do next? Please share you thoughts in the comments below.


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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.

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Typical Engagement? Students on School Boards in the U.S.

Originally published in Connect, Volume 2011, Issue 187.

A recent study reported that as much as 92% of any individual school building population in the U.S. is comprised of students, with adults accounting for only 8% of the total humans in any given school. There is a growing concern for the vastly underutilized majority as well as the unjust nature of decision-making in schools as people everywhere struggle with how to make schools more effective for all students.

At the same time, through our observations and study, I have determined there are more than 500 school districts across the United States that engage students on boards of education in some way.

As part of my work through SoundOut, I provide technical assistance and training to districts that are interested in systematically engaging students in education policy-making. I have researched more than 40 years of involving students as school board members, and follow national trends carefully. This article is a report and analysis focused on the growing interest in the practice of engaging students through boards of education, both at the state and local levels, across the U.S.


There are several types of practices that involve students with school boards.

The lowest bar is simply and routinely asking students what they think about school board policy-making issues. This can be a formal process mandated through policy, conducted through online surveys or in-person student forums. Another practice is to require regular student attendance at school board meetings. Both of these are generally seen as non-meaningful forms of involvement, as they do not require students have an active role in the process of decision-making beyond that
of “informant”.

Higher up the ladder is the practice of having student advisory boards that inform regular school board decision-making. This is the case in Boston, Massachusetts, where the Boston Student Advisory Council is a citywide body of student leaders representing their respective high schools. BSAC, which is coordinated by the administered by the district office in partnership with a nonprofit called Youth on Board, offers student perspectives on high school renewal efforts and inform their respective schools about relevant citywide school issues. In addition to personal skill development and knowledge building activities for their 20-plus members, BSAC students have strongly influenced district policy-making about cell phone usage, truancy, and reducing the drop out rate. They also have regular dialogues with the district superintendent and school board members.

The Denver, Colorado, Student Board of Education is a group
of 30 students who represent the15 high schools in the city. They are charged to serve as leaders in their schools and represent all students at the district level. Students create projects that affect their local schools and report back on them to the district. They have also created a curriculum that is used in several high school leadership classes. However, these students have to ask permission to speak to their regular board, and that does not happen frequently. According to a recent local newspaper article, the district has trepidations about giving students a regular voice in school policy-making. An attorney with the Denver School District was quoted saying, “The law does not provide for a means by which to create a student position on the board, whether it’s a voting position or not.”

One of the main issues in student involvement in boards of education is whether students are legally allowed to sit on boards, and if they are allowed, whether they have a full vote akin to their adult peers. A 2002 study posted on SoundOut identifies laws regarding student involvement on state and local school boards in 39 states out of 50 states across the U.S. The results vary:

  • As many as 16 states have laws allowing students to sit on school boards at the state level, with no vote
  • 20 states allow the same at the district level
  • Six states disallow either entirely, while seven allow full student voting on the state and district levels

Despite being allowed otherwise in those seven states, only California and Maryland actually have full-voting members on their state boards of education. Both of those states have highly influential student organizations that openly lobby for student voice.

The California Association of Student Councils, founded in 1947, proudly proclaims that all their programs are student-led. One of their most powerful activities is the Student Advisory Board on Legislation in Education, or SABLE. Each February, SABLE convenes in the state capital to set education priorities and share them with key decision-makers. They have a direct audience with the Senate Education Committee, and their influence helped form a position for a full-voting
student member of the California State Board of Education
, whose position was created in 1969. They gained full voting rights in 1983, including closed sessions.

The Maryland Association of Student Councils has similar impact in their state, with a student member serving in a regularly elected position annually.

As I have written before, I have more than a decade working with hundreds of schools across the U.S. and Canada to promote meaningful student involvement. Among the things I have found is an inherent dilemma in the type of special positioning students on school boards receive. The dilemma is that while an extremely limited number of students gets an opportunity to share their voices with adult decision-makers in the system, this type of “convenient student voice” is generally conducted at the adults’ convenience and with their approval.

In a growing number of states, the status quo of being excluded does not suit students themselves anymore. Currently, a disjointed but growing movement is seeking to increase the authority of students in school policy-making and decisions.

In Hawaii, there has been a nonvoting student representative on the state board of education for more than 20 years. However, a recent proposal would eliminate the position. A Facebook page sought to maintain that role.

In my home state of Washington, a group of independent students worked with the state’s Legislative Youth Advisory Council to lower the voting age for school board elections to 14, which, while not necessarily installing students on school boards, would give them a concrete say in education policy-making.

In Maryland, where students already have a role on the state board of education and in many district boards, in counties across the state there are active campaigns to increase the effect of student voice, with students calling for a full and regular vote in education policymaking. There is even an instance in Maryland where an 18-year-old named Edward Burroughs was elected to his local school board through regular office after running an effective campaign.

These examples allude to the process of what I refer to as engagement typification, where the roles of students are repositioned throughout the education system to allow Meaningful Student Involvement to become the standard treatment for all students, rather than something that is
exceptional. Consistently positioning students as in special positions doesn’t allow adults, including educators, administrators, or parents, to integrate students throughout the regular operations of the educational system. While seeing their peers as school board members is enticing to a number of students, most are disallowed them from seeing themselves as regular and full members of the leadership and ownership of education, or as trustees for their own well-being.

That is what differentiates Meaningful Student Involvement from other attempts at student engagement and student voice: Positioning students as full owners of what they learn. Involving students on school
boards is a step in the right direction; the next question is whether anywhere in the world is ready to go the full distance.

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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.

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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.

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Welcome to the Movement for Meaningful Student Involvement

This article was originally published in the Winter 2019 edition of LeaderBoard from the Michigan Association of Student Councils.

Imagine all the excitement of a school board fostering effective school improvement using existing resources while catalyzing a generation of public school supporters while you’re at it. Sound too good to be true? Its not! Your district could be the next to join the growing national movement focused on engaging students on school boards!

For almost 20 years, I’ve been studying and advocating for new roles for students throughout the education system. Given their essential role, school boards have been a focus of my efforts as I’ve worked to lift student voice, build student engagement, and usher Meaningful Student Involvement for every student in every grade throughout every school, everywhere, all of the time. This article explores some of what I’ve found throughout the years, and what I see as the future of this movement.

In 2001, I was hired as the first-ever student engagement specialist in Washington state’s education agency. While facilitating a three-year action research project, I conducted more than 100 listening sessions with individual students, parents, educators and leaders from many, many rural, suburban and urban communities across my state. At the same time, I examined the international literature surrounding decision-making for students within the education system. My study took me from individual classrooms to school hallways, principals’ offices to district school boardrooms, state education agencies to state school boards. What I discovered nearly 20 years ago was a gaping hole of substantive opportunities for students to positively, powerfully and meaningfully affect the places where they spent the majority of their waking hours for more 13 years in a row.

Instead, I discovered that students were routinely minimized, frequently dismissed and alternately tokenized and lionized for who they were and what they could do. Student governments across the country would give young leaders opportunities to choose dance themes and school colors without ever showing them the budgets that drove their educations or the processes for selecting curriculum and assessing learning. When learners brought concerns to school leaders for consideration, it was routine to congratulate their initiative then forget them when students walked away. Brought on stage to show compliance and acceptance of adult-led initiatives in education, student leaders were pointed at as the stars of shows they hadn’t written, didn’t speak for, and couldn’t show disagreement with. In the early 2000s, many schools still followed the adage, “Kids are better seen than heard.” Additionally, student voice activities were frequently treated as the exclusive provenance of high achieving, highly involved learners who usually identified as white, middle- and upper class, heterosexual students. Largely a homogeneous group, they couldn’t be said to represent their lower income, under-achieving peers who may be students of color or identify as LGBTQ students.

Since 2001, there’s been an explosion of interest following increased research and practice of Meaningful Student Involvement, which I define as “the process of engaging students in every facet of the educational process for the purpose of strengthening their commitment to education, community and democracy.” School boards can have a vital role in fostering Meaningful Student Involvement throughout their districts by supporting individual teachers learning about the approach, empowering building leaders to infuse the strategies, and enabling activities within their own sphere of action, including district offices and board activities. Engaging students as decision-makers is one way this happens, as well as intentionally creating roles for students as school researchers, education planners, classroom teachers, learning evaluators, and education advocates. Through SoundOut.org, I support K-12 schools, districts, agencies and associations nationwide through training, program development, evaluation and more to build these efforts.

What I’ve found is that on school boards nationwide, students are taking important roles to improve schools. For decades, there have been roles for students to inform and consult school boards. Many districts routinely invite students to inform board members on activities in their schools, and sometimes students are invited to share their concerns at board meetings. In addition to this, boards are creating permanent, regular positions for students to participate on school boards. Working with state laws, they are creating fully-empowered seats for students who are elected by their peers, supported by their teachers and principals, and trained to be sustained in their positions. Other district boards are also creating long-term policies and advocating with state legislatures to expand student roles. Instead of creating a single position for students, some districts have made multiple seats for learners—up to half the board—while partnering students with adult members to encourage mutual mentoring.

For instance, in Maryland students serve on every district board of education in the state. Students host multiple town hall forums for their peers, parents and community members, as well as over a dozen student advocacy groups throughout the state’s the school system. Student members are trained at the local level with support from a statewide organization. A recent report said district officials believe “giving students a larger say in what happens to them while they are at school has prompted students to take a larger interest in their education and to tackle issues with maturity and professionalism.”

That means that in addition to joining school boards, students across the U.S. are participating in district grant activities, including choosing grantees, facilitating training for educators and others, and evaluating grant performance in local schools. In district offices nationwide, students are researching and evaluating school policies, developing powerful campaigns to transform school culture, and building community coalitions to transform learning, teaching and leadership. Their involved in district budgeting, facilitating new building design and siting, advocating for healthy and nutritious school foods, and helping establish safe and supportive learning environments for all students, regardless of how they identify or perform in classrooms. They are doing all of this with encouragement, support and empowerment by school boards.

Another example comes from Massachusetts. The Boston Student Advisory Council, or BSAC, has partnered with the Boston Public Schools school committee (school board) with a variety of policies and activities. Students on BSAC have addressed a wide range of issues, including student rights and responsibilities, school discipline and climate, transportation, and the district budget. BSAC is credited with improving district policy-making, school climate, and student-teacher relationships.

In my research, I’ve found that at least 19 states currently have student representatives on their state school boards; at least 25 allow students to be involved on district school boards. They include Minnesota, Wisconsin and Illinois; they do not include Ohio and Indiana. Only two states currently having voting roles for students on the state school board; California and Maryland. Those two states have seemingly done more to foster local school board membership than any others nationwide, too.

Building a movement for Meaningful Student Involvement in district decision-making will require several steps. A great starting point is my 2017 tome called Student Voice Revolution: The Meaningful Student Involvement Handbook. In this 374-page book, I share examples, tips, research and more about empowered student voice, including practical, purposeful ways to take action.

Another essential step for every board member is to read the Michigan Association for School Boards Students on Boards Toolkit, which includes tips and sample policies. My website at http://www.soundout.org provides dozens of free tools, several free publications, and many articles and examples.

All of these highlight the ways Meaningful Student Involvement is happening, as well as the actions and effects of student voice and student engagement in schools. After you’ve reviewed those resources, I suggest districts create a districtwide plan for Meaningful Student Involvement highlighting roles for students on boards; train board members, educators, principals, parents and others on Meaningful Student Involvement, and then; implement and evaluate plans routinely, fostering the cycle of engagement throughout activities and building on every action taken to support even more action in the future.

Engaging students on school boards is packed with benefits for learners, board members, and schools overall. Research has shown board members can feel more effective through these positions by connecting directly with students, developing camaraderie with their peers, and sustaining regular connections with what’s happening in individual schools and classrooms districtwide. Experience has shown that involving students in decision-making has been shown to save time, energy, and money in education, too, benefiting board members’ effectiveness and outcomes. As society evolves, students are on boards can help individual school building support the ethical imperative facing educators today. That means supporting democracy, civic engagement and culture building throughout local neighborhoods and communities. Finally, positioning students on boards benefits both the students who are involved as well as others, too. Student members build skills, gain knowledge and take action every time they do board-related work; in turn, younger and older students can see themselves, hear their voices and feel their aspirations reflected in board decision-making. There are literally countless benefits.

After working with school districts in more than 30 states across the country, I believe the many districts are moving to the forefront of American schools as they expand this movement. Fostering strategic, substantial and effective Meaningful Student Involvement in districts statewide will mean addressing what I call the “4 Ps” of school administration: policies, personnel, procedures and programs. This means new and refined policies should to be created to support empowered roles for students on school boards statewide; personnel will have to be supported as their champion and sustain students on school boards; procedures can be created to engage, enliven and sustain student and adults as they embark in this work as partners; and programs could be developed to train, substantiate, maintain, expand and evaluate students on school boards.

All of this could amount to creating one of the most powerful, most impacting and most substantial agendas for Meaningful Student Involvement in the United States. In turn, it could transform schools across the country and benefit every learner in every school immediately, and well into the future. Can you truly afford to wait any further?

Old vs. New School Boards

Old ways for school boards to see students:

  • Students as passive recipients of adult-driven schools
  • Students as data points
  • Students as unfinished products until graduation
  • Students as incapable of contributing to the greater good
  • Students as Dorothy, and boards as the Wizard

New ways for school boards to see students:

  • Students as active partners of schools led by students and adults together
  • Students as members of learning communities, with teachers, parents, building leaders, board members and others
  • Students as whole people with significant opinions at any age
  • Students as essential members of schools and the larger communities
  • Every student as a co-creator, co-leader and co-learner throughout the education system

This article was originally published in the Winter 2019 edition of LeaderBoard from the Michigan Association of Student Councils.

Recommended citation: Fletcher, A. (Winter 2019) “Welcome to the Movement for Meaningful Student Involvement,” LeaderBoard 5(1) pp 18-21.

Download the original version »

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SoundOut Teams

A SoundOut Student Voice Team gathers regularly in a school or across a district to support, build and sustain student voice throughout education. Schools can start SoundOut Teams on their own.

Tip Sheet

Here is a tip sheet showing hot to support SoundOut Student Voice Teams. Download it here »

How To Support SoundOut Student Voice Teams

SoundOut offers training and other services to support teams. For more information contact us »

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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

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Student Voice in Madison Metropolitan School District

There are communities in the United States where young people are working with adults to lift up the voices of students and infuse meaningful student involvement throughout education. In November 2018, SoundOut had a chance to visit Madison, Wisconsin, where they are doing exactly that.

SoundOut staff worked with at with more 150 middle and high school students, classroom teachers, district administrators, and community supporters. We explored a lot of dynamics related to meaningful student involvement: who is involved, how they are involved, where they are involved, when they are involved, and why they are involved. We named new reasons to engage more students, everywhere, all of the time, and we discussed ways that it worked before for engaging students in meaningful ways.

SoundOut led several workshops, including one with students at Capital High School. These are students involved in alternative learning programs, and many are deeply involved in meaningful ways throughout their school. Their principal is a staunch supporter of student voice, and the teachers who are working with students are really dedicated. In this workshop, SoundOut and district staff learned from students about their visions for the future of their school, and the education system in general. We explored some of the roadblocks they faced in their work, and we began unpacking new possibilities for things they could do around the school. It was very powerful.

Sitting with educators, administrators and several students on a new district wide student voice group, SoundOut learned about powerful racial equity work happening in the district. There were questions regarding the effect of general use voice work and it’s impact on work being done to promote African-American youth voice particularly. Does one outweigh the other?

SoundOut also worked directly with district staff focused on youth engagement. We facilitated a community-wide learning opportunity for almost 100 students and adults to learn about meaningful student involvement. During the session, there were a lot of collaborative activities, brainstorming sessions, and planning opportunities for individual schools to begin to take student voice to heart in their school improvement planning and regular activities. We were fascinated to discover all of the ways that student voice is already at work in Madison, and to help plant the seeds for more work to be done.

“Thank you again for a wonderful two days, rich with enthusiasm, growth, and thought-provoking conversations!”

– Hannah Nerenhausen, Ed.M., Family, Youth & Community Engagement Coordinator, Madison Metropolitan School District

It’s been a fascinating 20 years of doing this work, and Madison is helping SoundOut to begin to envision the future that’s ahead as meaningful student involvement continues to grow across the United States and around the world.

Want to learn more?

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