Earlier this month, I attended UP-for-Learning’s “International Seminar for Amplifying Student Voice and Partnership” with about 70 other practitioners who all care deeply about student voice and partnership. It was a rich experience, and I deepened my understanding and appreciation of student engagement in schools.
As a teacher for many years, I am constantly trying to pull students into the class giving them more choice and greater voice. UP-for-Learning, with Helen Beattie and Martha Rich, helped us understand better how to have students be part of schools in a way that heighten their interest and success. The keynote speaker, Russ Quaglia, also shared his lifelong work with us surrounding student voice – check out links to his organization and the slideshow he presented below the post.
While at the conference, I remained focused on how to engage students in our BCL project in both the development phase and during the actual semester of learning. Our goal is to engage a representative group of students – representative of our diverse student body at BHS – creating a microcosm of our larger community, and not a just a niche sample. Student voice in our schools too often relies on traditionally successful students – both in the classroom and on the playing field – while less traditional and latent skill sets are overlooked. BCL hopes to broaden the tent when it comes to student voice, so that all our students can learn the value and the power of their voice.
In a smaller spotlight group at the conference, ideas were offered up on how to get support from other organization to help us include more students – thank you Alan Tinkler (UVM), Beth White (Big Picture Learning) and Steve Netcoh (UVM).
Lots of work to be done. Attending this conference for me happened at just the right time as we embark on the development of our Burlington City and Lake semester with students at the center.
– Signe Daly
Links from the conference: