For the last four days I’ve been working with dozens of teachers, principals, district officials and regional education administrators to help devise systemic plans for meaningful student involvement. In a demonstration of remarkable commitment, the New York State Student Support Services Office hosted three conferences across the state – Buffalo, Syracuse, and Rochester – where more than 100 participants examined the frameworks of meaningful student involvement, and developed comprehensive school policies to encourage, infuse, and sustain roles for students as partners in their schools.
I had a fascinating time. Spending so many days surrounded by folks who were excited to learn about meaningful student involvement was exilerating – the questions and ideas seemed to come fast and full. But the really awesome part was interacting with staff from the Office. Their deep interest in meaningful student involvement was obvious in the activities and materials they pulled together. In addition to using my Guide to Students as Partners in School Change, they also drew from Wendy Lesko’s work, Education Commission of the States, and others to make the case for student engagement. The stealth-like efficiency, focus, and knowledge of content was awesome to see, and provided a great opportunity for me to understand how others are using meaningful student involvement to improve schools in real time.