Based in Chattanooga, Tennessee, the UnifiEd Student Voice Team has been advocating for school transformation since 2014. Focused on improving K-12 learning in Hamilton County, students have worked with parents, school board members, educators and others to affect classrooms, create school programs, and drive policy change affecting thousands of learners.
Action and Outcomes
Student-created surveys were developed and administered by the Student Voice Team to over 450 Hamilton County high school students in the 2018-19 school year. These showed that students’ top priority for school improvement was in the area of mental health.
For instance, during the summer of 2019 the UnifiEd Student Voice Team researched how to implement best practices in mental health in Hamilton County Schools. At the beginning of the school year, the students’ advocacy resulted in the creation of a student support center in a local school.
In 2001, the Hamilton County School Board added a student member to their board. In 2016-17 and 2017-18, students from UnifiEd’s training programs Student Voice Team joined the board, ensuring student voice was empowered and capable of positively impacting district policy-making. Before then, the Student Voice Team worked with the school board attorney to update the system-wide bullying and harassment policy.
Approximately 30 high school students from across HCDE have been trained as organizers within their schools by UnifiEd staff.
Student Voice Team member at STEM School successfully advocated for the adoption of bylaws for its Student Support Senate to clarify the group’s role and bring awareness of its purpose to more students.
Students were a significant portion of respondents to the APEX equity survey, which identified the most urgent inequities in our schools and informed the work being undertaken by APEX Action Teams.
After the Student Voice Team successfully implemented a student Principal Advisory Council at Lookout Valley Middle and High School, students continued working on implementing Principal Advisory Councils in other Hamilton County High Schools, too.
Through the years, the UnifiEd Student Voice Team impacted individual schools and the district, making student voice a driving force for school improvement throughout Chattanooga and beyond.
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- UnifiEd Student Voice Team official website