In 2005 I completed a booklet called the Meaningful Student Involvement Guide to Students as Partners in School Change. After working with a dozen schools over the previous three years, studying hundreds of examples from literature and in schools across the U.S. and talking with students and educators about engaging student voice, I wanted to pull it all together. In that publication I wrote that,
“Meaningful student involvement is the process of engaging students in every facet of the educational process for the purpose of strengthening their commitment to education, community and democracy.”
For the last few weeks I have been beginning my work here in New York in conjunction with Learner-Centered Initiatives/Communities for Learning, and the Cloud Institute for Sustainability Education. It has been exhilarating traveling across the city and getting out into the suburbs and learning about other peoples’ interpretations of meaningful student involvement and engagement of student voice – there really is a grassroots movement among educators and administrators here!
Today we are here in Morristown, New Jersey and I with Jaimie Cloud meeting with teachers and the principal from a K-8 charter school here, learning about some good examples of MSI in action. Jaimie’s expertise is focused on sustainability education and systems thinking. Jaimie has a spectacularly complex and broad perspective that I definitely have a lot to learn from.
I love this exposure. As my own analyses are deepening I am discovering that meaningful student involvement sinks in throughout the learning environment. I believe there are deep connections between meaningful student involvement and sustainability education, and I look forward to the combination of those. So deep. Send me your thoughts about where and how meaningful student involvement should happen throughout the educational system, including which places within the educational system should be treated as learning environments that are not currently.