34 Ways to Meaningfully Involve Students

Testing, curriculum, teaching styles, school evaluations… As the banner of student voice is unfurled around the world, we see more young people standing up in unprecedented numbers than ever before. They’re demanding what is rightfully theirs: Meaningful learning, deep school-community connections, and lifelong success on their terms. We’re just see a movement emerge like neverContinue reading “34 Ways to Meaningfully Involve Students”

Public Schools Aren’t Democratic

Being the autocratic, adultcentric environments that they are, public schools today are not democratic. They are existent within a society operating on democratic methods, and they (mostly) publicly allow every young person to enroll in them. However, on the whole, public schools are not led in a democratic fashion, are devoid of democratic teaching methods, andContinue reading “Public Schools Aren’t Democratic”

Adultism in Democratic Education

My child has attended learning environments operating with democratic education principles for the last seven years, and as her dad I believe I’m a partner with her in her learning. As a line-level youth worker, I worked to infuse democratic education principles into my own practice for more than a decade, and as a consultant,Continue reading “Adultism in Democratic Education”

Student Voice Emerges In…

Student voice, which I define as any expression of any student about any aspect of education and learning, has many different expressions. As the movement to promote student voice advances toward the mainstream education conversation in the United States and worldwide, there are many different streams emerging in practice. Almost a decade ago, I sawContinue reading “Student Voice Emerges In…”

Youth Engagement in Democratic Education

Way back in 2008, I presented a few workshops at the International Democratic Education Conference. I had dabbled in the “DemEd” community for a few years by then, and this was my first push to really inject the movement I stand for: Youth engagement. While it seems antithetical for democratic education to be anything otherContinue reading “Youth Engagement in Democratic Education”

SoundOut Workshop Topics

For more than a decade, SoundOut has provided training workshops and professional development for K-12 schools, districts, state and provincial education agencies, and nonprofit organizations concerned with education.  The following workshops are for teachers, building and district administrators, school support staff, community youth workers, AmeriCorps members, youth-serving nonprofit staff, parents, community members, and students in gradesContinue reading “SoundOut Workshop Topics”

Convenient Student Voice -or- Inconvenient Student Voice?

From my research and experience working in with than 300 K-12 schools, districts, and state education agencies, I have identified two types of student voice in schools: convenient and inconvenient. Using these to teach students and adults about student voice, I have found this understanding can help people grasp which issues student voice can addressContinue reading “Convenient Student Voice -or- Inconvenient Student Voice?”

Beware Stagnant Student Voice

Over the last decade, I’ve seen a lot of student voice programs come and go. There have been special grants and interesting projects, meaningful attempts and passionate movements. All the while, student voice has grown in stature on the education reform radar while remaining on the back burner of the national conversation. After researching andContinue reading “Beware Stagnant Student Voice”

Meaningful Student Involvement at Work: Monument Mountain Regional High School

“The most important thing about your question is that you actually want to know your answer.” The Independent Project is a school within Monument Mountain Regional High School in Great Barrington, Massachusetts. Principal Marianne Young sought to, “Create a school that allows young people to be completely invested and to move every kind of human beingContinue reading “Meaningful Student Involvement at Work: Monument Mountain Regional High School”

Teaching Meaningful Student Involvement

Meaningful Student Involvement, or MSI, is a model for school improvement that strengthens the commitment of students to education, community and democracy. MSI re-envisions the roles of students in equitable partnerships with adults throughout the learning environment. It promotes student engagement by securing roles for students in every facet of the educational system and recognizesContinue reading “Teaching Meaningful Student Involvement”