Giving Students a Voice in Their Education
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Giving Students a Voice in Their Education

– [Nyala] I was the most anxious and anti-social person you would’ve met. I wouldn’t have even walked up to someone to ask them a question. (TV dialogue) Student Voice, for me,
is coming out of my shell and showing people that,
regardless of where you start, you can always go further. I was right, sweet. – I was contacted by a
woman in our district who kind of works with
the Board of Trustees and she said, “Hey Michelle,
I have this student. “She is an eighth grader and she has been “voicing her opinion about the budget.” – Yes and we’re just gonna do that without all that fidgeting and, okay. – [Nyala] Mum, do you have no idea – [Michelle] So of course I was like, huh, okay, what eighth grader has ideas about the budget, right? – Last year, I lost three
of my favorite teachers in the GT program and that means sixth, seventh, and eighth graders also lost those three teachers. And so I was like, we
got our electives cut, the seventh graders only have two teachers teaching them while
everyone else has four. So this is a problem and so I like, I saw the deficit and I was like, I wonder what I can do to change that. And if you guys are doing this now, imagine what you’re doing when you’re our age or when you’re older. You guys are going to rule the world and it’s going to be amazing. – First time we’ve ever had
elementary school students here which is super
exciting and we all think that leadership, it starts young. When we talk about
giving students a voice, it’s really, not just listening, but valuing what they’re
telling us and again, seeing them as contributing
members of the education system. – [Speech Giver] Previous
generations to rank having a purpose as the
most important factor in selecting a job or occupation. – [Michelle] In doing
research, it’s really difficult to find other school districts who have a board policy, who
have committed to student work. I’ve identified, I think, two others in the nation so far. They’re amazed that we have a policy, they’re amazed that we have
a student advisory council, they’re amazed that we
have an entire conference that we put on just for Student Voice. – What will you do to
make your school better? What will you do to
incorporate Student Voice? We have a speech from Nyala. – [Nyala] Alright, well middle
school is such a tough time. Sometimes people think
that we’re too consumed by our own emotions to have logical ideas. The truth is, we still have great ideas about how to make the world
around us a better place. Please engage us, no, it’s
please don’t give up on us. Engage us because one day
we will make a difference. (applause) In this last month,
I’ve been out in public about all of my opinions
and it has gotten me to the point where I’m meeting
with the superintendent and talking to her about
why my voice matters. And I’m going and speaking
in front of 400 people to show them why I’m here. Joy, Joy, Joy, Joy, oh my God! The moment we get that encouragement in, like the younger they are, the more they’re going to really
assert themselves within it and see that later on, like yeah, me learning that at age
nine I can do anything I want really helped me at age 14 when I felt like I wasn’t anybody. Come on.
– Come on. – Let’s study karyotype
analysis and genetic disorders. “Cells in metaphase are microscopic,” – (babbles)
– Yeah. – One of the things that
we really talk about with social emotional learning is a healthy and positive
climate and culture and I think that in schools,
having that foundation, just a really positive climate and culture where students feel safe, they’re gonna be more likely to share their voice. – [Dad] Girl, you need to let
your sister do her homework. (pop music) – So the more you bring them to the table and get them invested in this work, I think the more they show
up not just to be there and put in the hours, but
to really make some change. (soulful music) – Look, watch the video. I know it’s not as fun as the kid pop, but like it’s a pretty song. – Kid pop?
– No, ugh. – [Michelle] I’m curious to watch Nyala. Next year she transfers into a high school and faces that transition
and the challenges, like I, you know, what
is gonna be her story? Is her voice that she
has found in eighth grade gonna somehow help her
through that transition? And to me, if it does, that’s a success. ♪ When I saw you ♪ – I’m sorry. – (babbles) – Oh no, no.

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