At Hudson High School of Teaching Technology in New York City, New York, students can participate in a program called Students as Integrated ResourceS, or SIRS. The program positions students in active student/adult partnerships that can foster Meaningful Student Involvement.
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According to the teachers who operate it, students volunteer and come in after school to participate in a hands on activity. In this setting, students and teachers discussed challenges, understandings, and possible mistakes. When their peers do the same activity in class, these specially trained students act as teachers who answer questions, help with procedures, monitor safety, and even engage the unmotivated individuals.
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These SIRS have become an integrated and a necessary part of the class. On an occasion, one student who raised their hand for help saw a teacher coming and said “No, no. I want a SIRS.”
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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.
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.
A teacher with the Cities in Schools program in New York City engaged her students as evaluators in order to transform her practice.
She wanted to provide students with the experience of being in charge while helping them to develop skills in written and oral communication and logic. Believing students must be treated- and must see themselves- as working evaluators, the teacher also believed staff members could get usable information about their programs from student evaluators. Throughout, she assured students their evaluations were real and would be used in the programs.
- Campell, P., Edgar, S. and Halsted, A.L. (October 1994) “Students as Evaluators: A Model for Program Evaluation,” Phi Delta Kappan, 76, 2.
In 1972, students and adults in Port Jervis School District in Port Jervis, New York, worked together to redesign the district’s schools.
Working with teachers, administrators, parents, school board members and community organization leaders the student/adult gathering had 125 participants. They came up with a list of education reforms that included:
- Making arrangements to distribute school newsletters in languages other than English
- Planning a new community youth center
- Starting a radio program produced by students
- Setting up mentorships for young people with adults in the community
- Arranging to make schools more available for community activities
The New York High School Student Union operated in the late 1960s and early 1970s.
The NY Union worked with hundreds of students statewide to create a list of ten demands for schools.
- No suspensions, involuntary transfers, exclusion from classes, detention, harassment of students. Due process for students.
- No cops in schools, no narcos, security guards, plain clothesmen, informers.
- No program cards, hall checks, ID’s, passes.
- An end to commercial and general diplomas, one diploma for every student upon graduation.
- Open admissions to colleges, a college education free for everyone who wants one.
- Jobs and housing for every student who wants them on graduating, dropping out, or leaving home. The army is not a decent job.
- No military recruiting in schools, no military assemblies, literature, no sending names to draft boards or recruiters. An immediate end to the draft.
- Black and Latin departments controlled by Black and Latin students.
- Community control of the schools and every other community facility. Students are part of the community.
- POWER! Student control of curriculum, publications, assemblies, clubs, student government, dress, etc. The right to organize politically.
- We support the fifteen points of the Black and Puerto Rican Citywide HS Council.
- New York High School Free Press (an underground newspaper), No. 8, reprinted in Birmingham, J. (1970) Our Time Is Now: Notes from the High School Underground. New York: Praeger. p 178.