Meaningful Student Involvement in Under-Resourced Schools

This is the banner for Adam F.C. Fletcher's website

Meaningful Student Involvement in Under-Resourced Schools

As more schools nationwide realize the power of Meaningful Student Involvement, unfortunately many are still being left behind. For many reasons, under-resourced schools often don’t harness the unique abilities of students to meet their own tech needs, the needs of their peers and teachers, and their seemingly unlimited capacity to learn and grow through technology.

What makes Meaningful Student Involvement so powerful? I’ve been championing the Student Voice Movement for more than 20 years, and during that time I have supported more than 2,500 schools to create generations of Meaningful Student Involvement. This puts me in the position of being international leaders in the student voice movement.

Because of this experience and our vast research on the subject, I am able to report definitively that there are seven unique skills that make up the power of Meaningful Student Involvement.

They are:

  • Focus
  • Tech Literacy
  •  Self-Leadership
  • Teamwork & Collaboration
  • Innovative & Critical Thinking
  • Creative & Effective Communication
  • Problem Solving & Change Management

Meaningful Student Involvement positions students to build these skills in ways that no other approach to education does.

Free Student Voice Resources

Through SoundOut, I’ve created several free student voice resources for schools. Here is a list.

I would love to share more. What does YOUR under-resourced school need to building Meaningful Student Involvement? Leave your thoughts in the comments!

My Availability

I am excited to get this powerful learning into the hands of educators and students in under-served schools around the world. I partner in grant-funded projects to foster the support, opportunities and excitement these schools need to be effective and to excel through Meaningful Student Involvement.

You Might Like…

Adam F.C. Fletcher is available to consult, speak, and write.

8 Rules for Student/Adult Partnerships

This is the banner for Adam F.C. Fletcher's website

The vision of student/adult partnerships is at the core of Meaningful Student Involvement. The idea was that students could learn more effectively by partnering with teachers and other adults in the education system to provide vision, connection and support in learning, teaching and leadership. I have have been grateful to learn a LOT from my work in this area!

8 Rules for Student/Adult Partnerships

A student/adult partnership is an intentionally equitable intergenerational relationship. They can happen any place at anytime for nearly any purpose. Here are eight rules I have seen through my experience and research.

  1. Make it personal. The most powerful relationships in young peoples’ lives are filled with intrinsic rewards, not extrinsic ones. Student/adult partnerships aren’t obvious through gold stars and hashmarks on the whiteboard; instead, they are felt in the heart and seen in the mind. Student engagement is personal, not predictable.
  2. Transparency is key. Honesty and authenticity are requirements for student equity with adults. When adults learn to share the details of a situation (including who, what, when, where, how, and most importantly, why), young people can invest and own activities in outcomes in ways they cannot otherwise.
  3. The goal is engagement. Academic achievement might happen through student engagement, but its not a guarantee. Learning will happen whether it’s demonstrable or not. The goals of student/adult partnerships is engagement, which, when sustained, is a greater outcome than anything currently graded in schools.
  4. Student voice is a journey. Student voice must be supported for student engagement, but it is not the goal. It’s a journey, an ever-evolving process that
  5. Motivation is great, but focus on partnerships. Sometimes students lose steam for partnerships, and adults might too! Staying focused is vital though, and motivation will happen as long as student/adult partnerships are the target.
  6. This is not a game. Everyday, young people are discriminated against because of their age. This happens in schools, at home, and throughout their communities. Compounding this is racism, as well as classism, sexism and other biases. Student/adult partnerships can include playing and fun, but we must intentionally transform our relationships with students in order to save our society and their lives.
  7. Beware unintended consequences. You know what happens when you set a target? People aim for it! If young people experience youth/adult partnerships in your class, in your after school program, at your summer camp, or in any other single place in your community, they will want to experience student/adult partnerships in every other place throughout your community!
  8. Student/adult partnerships are a process, not a project. Once you start partnerships with learners, they don’t stop. You should commit your entire school year to fostering student/adult partnerships, and understand that they can blow the doors off the 8-3 classroom. Instead, plan on committing significant portions of your planning time, out-of-school time, and even your personal time to supporting your student partners in equitable ways. If you can’t do that, don’t try it.

These are eight rules for student/adult partnerships.

Don’t be afraid!

Don’t be afraid of them! Unlike many others working to improve education today, there are some districts that are fully supportive of student/adult partnerships as a powerful tool in classrooms, hallways, offices and boardrooms.

They can be about more than student engagement; some schools and youth-serving nonprofits foster student/adult partnerships in order to build community, foster democracy in action, and build significant project-based learning opportunities. However, even if you don’t do any of those things, that’s OK. For many young people, any partnership with an adult is more powerful than what they experience right now.

What would YOU add to the list? I’d love to hear your thoughts — share them in the comments section below!

You Might Like…

Adam F.C. Fletcher is available to consult, speak, and write.

The Student Power Movement in 2021

Nationwide, K-12 schools and districts have definite problems meeting tech needs right now. Every year Education Week shares a report called “Technology Counts,” and this year, during the pandemic, the biggest repeating issue isn’t student connectivity, but tech problems. Underfunded districts, over-burdened teachers, and incapacitated students are the many cause of these problems.

This isn’t just some big picture problem, either. Instead, it affects nearly every teacher in every classroom around the world right now. Earlier this week, a teacher friend of mine posted this as their status:

Dumpster fire. The most accurate description of my 4 lessons today, technology issues in every class, can’t easily see student work (beyond frustrating), exit tickets take more than 10 minutes of my precious class time. Hybrid teaching is *really* freaking hard. If you know a teacher, thank them because this is not what any teacher wants to be doing right now.

More than ever before, every part of the education system needs to be supporting teachers right now. This is true whether they’re facilitating online, hybrid, or in-person classes right now. As much as possible.

For more than two decades I’ve been working in schools, I have always called on one consistent force to support teachers, and that is student power. Student power is made of three parts:

  • Skills: Concrete and unnamed abilities to get things done
  • Knowledge: Constructed and collected facts and information
  • Traits: Distinguishing qualities or characteristics

Right now, our nonprofit is creating new ways to engage student power throughout the education system right now, and we want you to join us.

This year, almost 100 K-12 schools nationwide are joining me on this journey. Facilitators are participating in weekly meetings, teachers in a dozen states are coming to our workshops, and students are working hard in their schools right now. We have a lot more coming fast, and the doors are wide open for your energy, excitement and enthusiasm!

Are you interested in joining the Student Power Movement? Send me an email and I’ll share details with you.

You Might Like…

Adam F.C. Fletcher is available to consult, speak, and write.