Meaningful Student Involvement: Guide to students as partners in school change

In 2007, I finished a series of booklets introducing my vision for education called “Meaningful Student Involvement”. Since then, I have worked with hundreds of K-12 schools, government education agencies, and learning-focused nonprofits to teach my philosophy. Preparing for a presentation today in Spokane, Washington, for 21st Century Community Learning Center sites from across the state, I came across the following research summary of my Meaningful Student Involvement: Guide to students as partners in school change. I’m excited to share it with you here.

Title: Meaningful Student Involvement: Guide to students as partners in school change 

AbstractThis publication is a guide about meaningful student involvement and of students as partners in school change. The guide is divided into a number of chapters including:

Chapter 1: Elements of meaningful student involvement This section discusses a number of issues including: providing a definition for meaningful student involvement; when student involvement is and is not meaningful?; the cycle of meaningful student involvement which is a ‘continuous five-step process’ (listen, validate, authorise, mobilise and reflect); the key characteristics or elements of meaningful student involvement; and the ladder of student involvement in schools, which entails eight steps ranging from students manipulated (manipulation) to student-initiated, shared decisions with adults (student-adult partnerships). 

Chapter 2: Benefits of meaningful student involvement This chapter presents the manifold benefits of meaningful student involvement, these benefits are accrued to students, adults and schools systems, and in a number of areas.

Chapter 3: Meaningful student involvement in actionThis section presents examples on meaningful student involvement and how it has been practiced. The examples discussed are in the following areas: students as school researchers; students as educational planners; students as classroom teachers; students as learning evaluators; students as systemic decision-makers; students as education advocates; and student-led organizing for school change.

Chapter 4: Learning through meaningful student involvement
This chapter outlines some of the activities, skills, and learning connections embedded within meaningful student involvement. Additionally, there is a discussion about and illustrations on meaningful student involvement in (elementary, middle and high) schools.

Chapter 5: Barriers and solutionsThis chapter presents the barriers (structural, adult, and student) to meaningful student involvement and the possible ways to overcome them. 

This guide also lists a number of additional resources and research sources on meaningful student involvement.

Its exciting for me to find this kind of citation. I just discovered its cited on Google Scholar 44 times, which is cool too. Download the publication and more at

CommonAction is available to train, coach, speak, and write about this topic across the US and Canada. Contact Adam to learn about the possibilities by emailing or calling (360) 489-9680.

Written by Adam Fletcher, this article was originally posted to Learn more at!

Published by Adam

For almost two decades, Adam F. C. Fletcher has led international outreach focused on engaging people successfully. Working with thousands of youth-serving nonprofits, K-12 schools, government agencies, international NGOs and other organizations around the world, his work spans the fields of education, public health, economic development and social services, and includes professional development, public speaking, publishing, social media and more. He founded the Freechild Institute for Youth Engagement, SoundOut and CommonAction, as well as writing more than 50 publications and 500 articles. He has also established 150-plus community empowerment projects.

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