student voice

Student Voice and Choice Through Personalized Learning Time

Each year I invite our teachers at Montour High School to participate in the Shadow a Student Challenge. For one week, a group of teachers spends time following students around the building, attending their classes, and joining them in lunch, activities, and more. Afterward, the teachers and I get together and talk about their shadowing experiences. It was during one of these afternoon conversations that changed the direction of our school community for the better.

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Giving Students a Voice in School Improvement

Guest post by Kasey Teske

In secondary schools, the greatest untapped resource is our students. Most of our students care deeply about school and have numerous ideas about how to improve their campus community. But how often do we, as principals, involve students in our school improvement efforts? Do the students in our school even know our improvement priorities? Are they allowed to give input and help create our school improvement plans? I submit that the more principals give students a voice in their school, the more improvement will move in the right direction. (more…)

School Safety Advocacy From a Student’s Perspective

Following the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, FL, which claimed the lives of 17 students and educators, advocates around the country organized a national movement demanding change to better protect our schools and communities from gun violence. Leading that movement are student survivors of the shooting joined by thousands of young people across the country.

The NASSP Student Leadership Advisory Committee joined those efforts, organizing advocacy events and actions to honor the lives of the Stoneman Douglas victims and to call for policy change. Here are testimonials about that advocacy from one of the students on the committee and one of the committee’s adult advisers: (more…)

Student Voice: The Most Important Sound in the School

Guest post by Bobby Bennett

In 2012, I became principal of my alma mater—only the second alumnus since the 1890s to have such an opportunity. No pressure! Eager to begin the work of serving my community and school improvement, I held a series of meetings with staff and the school community over the course of the first three months. These meetings would shape our work for the next five years. In fact, what we learned and put into practice not only yielded academic success, it transformed the culture of our school. (more…)

Trading Achievement for Inspiration: Reimagining Success in Schools

Guest post by John Clements

I am an optimist about the future of schools and learning. My unwavering hope as an educational leader springs from the expanding definition of what it means to be a successful school. For decades, perhaps since the foreboding message of “A Nation at Risk,” educators have equated success with one word: achievement. While the lens of student achievement may provide a well-intentioned view of school, it clouds the vision of schools as places that engage, empower, and inspire students. Achievement ignores the inherently aspirational aspects of learning.

Ask any mom or dad what type of schooling they want for their child and you’re likely to hear about (more…)

Considerations for Principals When Students Are Planning an Organized Protest or Walkout

When students’ free expression evolves into an organized protest or walkout during school hours, principals and other school officials find themselves in a conflict between supporting student voice and fulfilling their custodial duty toward students. Here are some considerations if students are planning an organized protest or walkout during school hours: (more…)

5 Ways to Create a Supportive School Community

Guest post by Nathan Boyd

One of the most important lessons I have learned as a school principal is that children need to be in a relaxed state of mind in order to perform at their full potential. If students’ physical and emotional needs are not being met, their minds will not be ready to engage. Sounds obvious, right? Actually, creating the right conditions for students to learn is one of the biggest challenges for us as educators, because so many factors are beyond our immediate control. (more…)

Get Your Leadership Ego Out of the Way and Empower Your Students

Guest post by Jethro Jones

We often give lip service to the idea of empowering students.

Yes, we all agree it is important, but the adults in the building are the ones who really know best.

Yes, kids’ ideas matter, but they don’t really know what they’re talking about.

Yes, kids have good ideas, but the adults still take credit for those ideas.  (more…)

Raising Student Voices to Strengthen School Communities

Guest post by Robert Nolting

For many students, school seems to be done to them, not with them. At Victor J. Andrew High School (VJA) in Tinley Park, IL, we make it a point to raise a student’s voice not only as a spotlight, but a headlight—leading the way, we carry on throughout the year. At VJA, this starts with our Senior Leaders and Principal’s Advisory groups.  (more…)

Changing Paradigms from Adult-Centered to Student-Centered Learning in Schools: A Powerful Shift and Catalyst for Change

Guest post by Autumn Pino

I will be the first to admit that what I am about to say might be a little controversial, and maybe even a bit daunting for some.  (more…)