StudentVoicesNUA™ is a program of the National Urban Alliance. It provides students with opportunities to co-create with teachers innovative curriculum-related projects using 21st century technology, to increase their involvement in professional development, to mediate literacy and learning strategies for parents, and to participate in leadership discussions and decision-making. An exciting part of StudentVoicesNUA™ is having students co-teach instructional units with their teachers.
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StudentVoicesNUA™ have included student-produced publications, radio shows and videos; lessons plans co-created and presented by students; debating and public speaking; electronic field trips; student-led convocations; and podcasts.
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Here are different facts about roles for students on school boards in Connecticut.
District School Boards
- Students can legally join district school boards.
- Students cannot legally vote on district school boards in Connecticut.
- Local principals usually select student representatives for one year terms.
State Board of Education
- There are 10 voting members of the Connecticut State Board of Education, 13 members total, including two students who serve as non-voting members.
- Students cannot legally vote on the state school board in Connecticut.
- Law: In 1998, the Connecticut General Statutes Title 10, Chapter 163 was amended to:
- Require the Commissioner to appoint a State Student Advisory Council on Education (SSACE).
- The Commissioner must ensure the council membership “(1) includes male and female students, (2) is racially, ethnically, and economically diverse, (3) includes students from each Congressional district in the state, and (4) includes students who have disabilities.”
- Students can serve on the council for up to three years, but cannot serve after high school graduation.
- Require that the Connecticut State Board of Education include two nonvoting student members.
- Each student member on the State Board is a public high school senior with at least a B+ grade point average.
Connecticut School Board Association
- Students are not formal members of the state school board association, but are offered specific training to support their involvement.
- The state school board convention sometimes has a workshop for student board members.
Please cite this information as follows:
Fletcher, A. and Kunst, K. (2015) Students on School Boards Toolbox. Olympia, WA: SoundOut. Retrieved [xx/xx/20xx] from http://soundout.org/students-on-school-boards-toolbox.
At Hamden High School near New Haven, Connecticut, is home to a Human Relations Club that is led by students that transformed school culture.
Through this extracurricular program, students advocate for their school to address issues of racism, sexism, prejudice and stereotyping. This program has many different activities, including an annual prejudice reduction conference, a service learning program, a cultural awareness program, and other activities.
The most popular activity is an annual program where high school students go to middle and elementary schools to teach students about bullying, including bullying prevention, reporting and intervention. Successes of the club include having great numbers of students participation; high percentages of increased student empathy and understanding about racism, stereotyping and prejudice; and increased student body-wide perceptions of their capability to resolve issues important to them.
Research attributes the success of the club, which is more than 20 years old, to the fact that it is student-led.
One researcher wrote, “the more students are involved, the more knowledgeable and confident they become in addressing other human relations issues.” (Willison, 1997)
At Bethel High School in Bethel, Connecticut, the Principal’s Advisory Committee has been assisting their school’s leader since 2000.
Headmasters or principals sometimes form a Principal’s Advisory Board by asking 6 to 10 students to help process the issues in their position.
It started out with 12 participating students, and in just three years, this decision-making group has grown to include more than 186 students and 13 sub-committees. This is a non-elected student body that will look at all aspects of life at their school. They will make suggestions and recommendations to the principal and Student Congress.
Students address a variety of issues, including teacher hiring, the yearly master schedule, and planning key events at the school. Students meet monthly with the principal.
The Youth Action Research Institute in Hartford, Connecticut, has coordinated student-led research projects focused on schools and education for many years.
In 2007, four school districts participated in a student action research program as part of the Education and Advocacy Project. This program is a model program that engages students in identifying and researching issues that affect the quality of education in their schools and elsewhere in the state. The program, for fifth and six graders, has nine teachers participating who are integrating student driven action research into their classrooms using cooperative learning methods into core curricular activities.
The project’s methods and goals include assessing the effects of PAR on students, educators, and the overall school communities involved. (Berg, 2007)