STUDENTS AS PARTNERS

Integrating student voice in the governing bodies of Kentucky Schools

After years of experience in Kentucky’s legislative process and classrooms, our team knew firsthand that students' perspectives were largely unrepresented in the decisions and discussions that shape their lives. We also knew that students, as the recipients of education, are perfectly positioned to see problems and solutions that adults don’t. 

Students As Partners SE Cover

We created Students as Partners: Integrating student voice in the governing bodies of Kentucky schools to highlight the benefits of including student input in school governance. We takes a deep dive into the academic, legal, and evidence-based reasoning behind our central argument. Drawing on a number of sucess stories across the state and nation, the report serves as a reminder that students can, and should, be involved in conversations about their own learning, and that doing so improves school quality for everyone, not just students. 

 

Students As Partners makes the definitive case for why student voice matters.

Out of the report came four key recommendations: 

  1. Develop a culture of respect

  2. Support students to serve on school governance bodies.

  3. Create a formal platform where students can share their perspectives with educators

  4. Enlist students to design and disseminate student voice surveys and/or hold roundtables to inform policy changes that directly affect them.

Praise for Students As Partners

“The Kentucky Association of School Councils is committed to developing and encouraging significant ways to include student voice in our public schools. This report reminds us that students who feel some level of ownership in their education are more likely to succeed academically.”

 

—Kentucky Association of School Councils


“The importance of student opinions, ideas, feedback, experiences, and concerns are vital in the pursuit of an exceptional educational experience for every student. In support of the Student Voice Team, I am truly pleased to see the work in elevating student voice statewide.”

 

—Dr. Randy Poe, Superintendent, Boone County Public Schools, Kentucky

“This is a must-read report for educational leaders and policy makers, with must- implement recommendations. It is a call to action, driven by the Student Voice Team’s ability and willingness to listen to and learn from all members of the school community, and the acknowledgement that students should always be a central part of school improvement efforts.”

 

—Dr. Russell J. Quaglia, Founder, Quaglia Institute for Student Aspirations & author of the best-selling book Student Voice: The Instrument of Change

“This is the go-to resource for understanding the state of student voice and participation in Kentucky. While the report documents a lack of student voice in most schools, it shows increased willingness for greater student voice in the future. The report ends with helpful insights on how to foster meaningful voice rather than token participation.”

 

—Dr. Dana L. Mitra, Professor of Educational Theory and Policy, Pennsylvania State University

“This is a document that not only raises expectations about the importance and value of student voice but also provides excellent concrete recommendations for serious inclusion of youth voice in policy and practice.”

 

—Michele Cahill, Distinguished Fellow in Education and Youth Development, National Center for Civic Innovation

“For many students, public education is their only ticket to a life of prosperity, and they need to feel welcomed and heard as they share the positives and negatives within the school system. For anyone interested, please read the recommendations in Students As Partners. These four ideas will create the change needed to increase student voice and improve the public education product for all students.”

 

—Brison Harvey, Social Studies teacher & former Student Member of the Board, Garret County Board of Education, Maryland

Contributors

Eliza Jane Schaeffer

Eliza Jane Schaeffer

Project Lead

Hiatt Allen

Hiatt Allen

Publishing Editor

Andrew Brennen

Andrew Brennen

Justin Huffman

Justin Huffman

Gabriel Chesney

Gabriel Chesney

Zachariah Sippy

Zachariah Sippy

Gentry Fitch

Gentry Fitch

Logan Zeigler

Logan Zeigler

Rachel Belin

Rachel Belin