Students as Partners
Students as Partners, details the widespread lack of student inclusion on Kentucky school governance bodies and making the case for change. The report includes student, teachers, principals, and superintendents interviews in an effort to determine exactly how Kentucky schools leverage student voice as a tool for school improvement. Results from the nearly 300 Kentucky schools and school districts that responded show that 8% of school councils and 9% of school districts support students to serve on their governing bodies and that 57% of schools do not offer a meaningful outlet for student voice.
The “Powerball Promise" campaign was launched in early 2016 urging Kentucky state lawmakers to make good on the pledge not to divert lottery proceeds from education. Instead, students pushed for the gaming profits to fully fund the state’s College Access Program for low-income students and public colleges and the Kentucky Tuition Grant program for low-income students at private schools. The campaign came as student leaders drew attention to the challenges of rising tuition and increased efforts encouraging high school graduates to pursue college degrees. As part of an 11th-hour budget compromise, lawmakers backed the student push, which included testifying before lawmakers, writing newspaper op-eds, meeting with over three dozen lawmakers, organizing a Capitol rally, and encouraging students across the state to contact lawmakers directly. The result was the largest ever student-led re-investment in education in Kentucky's history netting $14 million for the two scholarship funds. The final amount is expected to help 8,000 students over the biennium. Read more.
#StuVoice National Tour/Roundtable Facilitator Guide
The #StuVoice National Tour in partnership with Student Voice was planned and executed in January 2016 with the vision of engaging thousands of students around the country in a conversation about how to improve education. Over 100 tour stops at schools and with organizations in over 20 states were executed as part of this tour. Additionally, I facilitated over 100+ recorded student roundtable discussions, and earned 12 national media placements. The goal of the tour was two fold. 1) Elevate student voices, an often excluded constituent, around the discussion of the future of school and 2) Support student-led school improvement efforts, primarily taking form as district or state-wide policy-based issue advocacy campaigns.
The "Roundtable Facilitator Guide" was created in collaboration with Student Voice to guide the student roundtable series as part of our National Tour. The packet contains research on the value of roundtable discussions, tips for first time student facilitators, and sample questions to ask during student roundtables crafted around Student Voice's Student Bill of Rights. Read more
School Climate Analysis/ "Student Voice Audit"
Conducted in 2015 the Student Voice Audit was a student-led, designed, and implemented project to take a snapshot of the "school climate" at one Central Kentucky Junior High School. The Audit included a student-body and staff-wide survey, roundtable interviews with students, one-on-one interviews with teachers and school administrators, classroom observations, and a final report consisting of findings and recommendations.
The Audit revealed massive disconnects between students and teachers at Robert D Campbell Junior High School. This disconnect was best revealed when, after over two-thirds of the students listed bullying as the number one problem needing fixing at the school, not a single teacher mentioned bullying on not a single survey.
Uncovering the Tripwires to Postsecondary Success
"Uncovering the Tripwires to Postsecondary Success” includes research and insights from interviews conducted with over 200 Kentucky students, parents, teachers, business leaders, policymakers, politicians, and researchers. The investigation focuses on the theme of inequality in the postsecondary transition process highlighting three main "Tripwires".
1) The Birthright Lottery. 2) College & Career UNreadiness and 3) Hidden Costs. The project, which was funded by a $40,000 grant from the State Farm Youth Advisory Board has been presented over 50 times at state and national education conferences.
House Bill 236
HB 236 and the resulting #SaveOurBill campaign was an effort to increase student representation on school governing committees. As part of this effort students wrote a bill, found a bill sponsor in the Kentucky House Education Committee Chairman, met with dozens of legislators, earned state-wide and national media placements (including a segment on the Rachel Maddow Show and a piece in Atlantic Magazine written by Amanda Ripley) and convened a rally on the capital steps which drew over 350 students from around Kentucky. Ultimately, the bill passed favorably out of the Senate and House education committees as well as through the State House of Representatives with an overwhelming vote of 88-5. The bill failed, however, in the State Senate. Read more.