The Power of Student Voice

By Merrit Jones, ALL4SC fellow and an advisor with Student Voice

In Episode 8 of ElevatEd4SC, I talked with our host Ro about the importance and power of including students in conversations and decisions. The episode starts with a few important clarifications including how I’ve defined student voice in my work which is: recognizing and ACTING upon the fact that students are the most populous stakeholders in education and should be partners in shaping it. 

I’ll emphasize again that the work is not about giving students voices; they have those. The work of student engagement is supporting students to have opportunities to build and exercise their voices in and out of the school building. It can’t be done by students alone. It has to be done in partnership with students and the adults in their buildings.

One awesome example of the magic that comes out of students and adults working in partneship to build something together came in the form of sneakers! In the episode, I shared the story about my cool sneakers which were the winners of recent #FutureofLearningChallenge hosted by the Reinvention Lab at Teach for America. Intergenerational teams submitted designs for sneakers that encapsulated what the future of learning looked like to them. 

From the 12 teams, HomeWorks Trenton was selected after creating their design and presenting their prepared pitch to a team of judges. They worked alongside 99products to bring the shoe to life, and it’s out in the world this week! You can hear directly from the HomeWorks Trenton team about their process and what they learned in this awesome video, and you can join the conversation on social media through the hashtag #FutureofLearningChallenge and even have a chance to win your own pair!

Merrit is a regular contributor to ElevatED4SC. She is concluding her fellowship with ALL4SC and heading into the classroom to be a middle school social studies teacher this fall.

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