SoundOut Student Voice Summits

SoundOut SpeakOut Conference 2005 in Bothell, Washington

Since 2002, the SoundOut Student Voice Summits have served as launching pads for meaningful student involvement in districts across the United States.

Description

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In a special in-school program, the SoundOut Student Voice Summit engages groups of traditional and non-traditional student leaders and focuses their energy, knowledge and ideas on how students can improve schools.

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Using a series of hands-on, interactive activities, students share their concerns about school and ideas for what can change. Through skill-building and knowledge-sharing exercises, students also increase their sense of efficacy and their desire to be active agents of positive education transformation.

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The closing of the SoundOut Student Voice Summit features students presenting their own school improvement plans.

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Afterward, plans will be implemented, each school will create a report, and San Rafael City Schools will celebrate the outcomes locally, and the results will be shared internationally by Adam Fletcher.

Participants

  • Between 30-100 traditional and non-traditional student leaders elementary, middle or senior high schools
  • A smaller group of highly supportive, engaged, and sustainably involved adult allies, including teachers, building leaders, parents, and/or district officials.

Process

  1. Each school identifies student/adult partner teams
  2. Each participant receives a copy of The Guide to Student Voice
  3. Each team reviews the content of the Guide to Student Voice
  4. Each school sends a student/adult team with their copies of The Guide to Student Voice to the SoundOut Summit
  5. Each school team creates a SoundOut Plan
  6. Each school team completes the implementation of their SoundOut Plans
  7. Each school collects outcomes and generates a SoundOut report; each school presents their outcomes to their local school board and shares with SoundOut
  8. Local schools and districts celebrate the outcomes through district communications and they’re announced on soundout.org

Outcomes

  1. Students identify areas of improvement within their schools
  2. Students increase their skills and knowledge related to school improvement
  3. Students generate plans that can be implemented to improve their own schools
  4. Schools experience the positive, powerful potential of student voice

Logistics

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To discuss pricing, dates and logistics, contact SoundOut.

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Find schools that have hosted SoundOut Student Voice Summits!

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2016 SoundOut Summer Camp

The 2016 SoundOut Summer Camp happens August 1-11 at Cleveland High School in Seattle

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

 

 

 

Roles for Students throughout the Education System

These are roles for students throughout education by Adam Fletcher for SoundOut.

What are the broadest possible roles for engaging students as partners throughout the K-12 education system? 

 

The most important thing when engaging students in any role in school is to acknowledge their first duty: Learning. Their learning is paramount to being meaningfully involved throughout schools. Learning through meaningful student involvement should include: stated learning goals, meaningful action, and sustained, deep reflection.

Following are a several roles students can have that can transform schools and education forever.

Roles for Students throughout the Education System

  • Students as Facilitators. Knowledge comes from study, experience, and reflection. Engaging students as learning guides and facilitators helps reinforce their commitment to learning and the subject they are teaching; it can also engage both young and older learners in exciting ways.
  • Students as Researchers. Identifying issues, surveying interests, analyzing findings, and developing projects in response are all powerful avenues for Student Voice.
  • Students as Planners. Planning includes program design, event planning, curriculum development, and hiring staff. Students planning activities can lend validity, creativity, and applicability to abstract concepts and broad outcomes.
  • Students as OrganizersCommunity organizing happens when leaders bring together everyone in a community in a role that fosters social change. Students community organizers focus on issues that affect themselves and their communities; they rally their peers, families, and community members for action.
  • Students as AdvocatesWhen students stand for their beliefs and understand the impact of their voices, they can represent their families and communities with pride, courage, and ability.
  • Students as Evaluators. Assessing and evaluating the effects of programs, classes, activities, and projects can promote Student Voice in powerful ways. Students can learn that their opinions are important, and their experiences are valid indicators of success.
  • Students as Experts. Envisioning roles for students to teach students is relatively easy; seeing new roles for students to teach adults is more challenging. Students specialists bring expert knowledge about particular subjects to programs and organizations, enriching everyone’s ability to be more effective.
  • Students as AdvisorsWhen students advise adults they provide genuine knowledge, wisdom, and ideas to each other, adults, schools, and education agencies, and other locations and activities that affect them and their world at large.
  • Students as Designers. Students participate in creating intentional, strategic plans for an array of activities, including curriculum, building construction, students and community programs, and more.
  • Students as Teachers. Facilitating learning for themselves, other students and educators, other adults in schools, or adults throughout our schools can be teachers of small and large groups in all kinds of topics. [Examples]
  • Students as Grant-makersStudents can identify funding, distribute grants, evaluate effectiveness, and conduct other parts of the process involved in grant-making.
  • Students as LobbyistsInfluencing policy-makers, legislators, politicians, and the people who work for them are among the activities for students as lobbyists.
  • Students as TrainersWhen they train adults, students, children, and others, youth can share their wisdom, ideas, knowledge, attitudes, actions, and processes in order to guide programs, nurture organization and community cultures, and change the world.
  • Students as PoliticiansRunning for political office at the community, city, county, or state levels, students can be politicians in a variety of positions. In some places, they can run for school boards or as education trustees too.
  • Students as Recruiters. Students building excitement, sharing motivation, or otherwise helping their peers and other people to get involved, create change, or make all sorts of things happen throughout schools and the entire education system.
  • Students as Social entrepreneursWhen students recognize a social problem, they can use entrepreneurial principles to organize, create, and manage a venture to make schools and their communities change.
  • Students as Paid staffWhen schools hire students, they can be staff members in schools and throughout the education system. They can fulfill many roles on this list in paid positions.
  • Students as Mentors. Mentoring is a non-hierarchical relationship between students and adults, adults and students, or among students themselves, that helps facilitate learning and guidance for each participant.
  • Students as Decision-MakersMaking rules in classrooms is not the only way to engage students in decision-making. Participating in formal and informal decision-making, students can be school board members, education committee members, and in many different roles throughout schools.
  • Students as Activity Leaders. As activity leaders in schools and education agencies, students can facilitate, teach, guide, direct, and otherwise lead youth, adults, and children in a variety of ways.
  • Students as Policy-MakersWhen they research, plan, write, and evaluate education rules, regulations, laws, and other policies, students as policy-makers can enrich, substantiate, enliven, and impact the outcomes of policies and schools in many ways.

 

These are merely some of the roles. What others can YOU think of? Share your thoughts in the comments section!

 

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Your FREE copies of the Meaningful Student Involvement series are online at soundout.org

Student Courts and Meaningful Student Involvement

SoundOut for 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

SoundOut Tools

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