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(GOAL 2) Expand and Promote Student Leadership Opportunities

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Expand and Promote Student Leadership Opportunities

Develop and curate student leadership opportunities that further empower students to share their ideas and perspective in decision-making. The outcome of this initiative is the development of a student voice toolkit for students, schools and teams to utilize when making student-centered decisions.

2024-23 Winter Progress Update 

In KSD, we have the luxury of serving students from preschool to high school with a hint of college. We've also had the luxury of having tiered schools that includes Tiers 1-3 supports in our traditional and alternative schools as well as Tier 4 supports in our performance-based Open Door school (iGrad). These intentionally designed in-person and hybrid school models with different accountability report card metrics have afforded us the opportunity to gain insight and various experiences regarding what works well for our kids, what doesn't, and changes that must occur. Making the space for students to provide candid feedback with us about their educational journey both inside and outside of our district have created a need for us to shift to a shared accountability and decision-making model rather than a top-down compliance model. 

Administrators from nine schools joined our first Student Voice Matters professional learning community (PLC). This cohort of principals have boldly agreed to collaborate and provide insights and ideas for shared learning around expanding student partnerships by embracing and developing a school culture that incorporates a pedagogy of student voice in our elementary and secondary schools. 

Based on the survey feedback gathered, we were able to better understand the continuum of experiences principals will bring to the table and plan upcoming meeting logistics to include calibration of understanding of the language used around student leadership and voice, share pedagogy experiences and ideas/wonderings, gather feedback, articulate some progress benchmarks, and discuss ultimate outcomes for this yearlong work together. 

An array of quantitative and qualitative data was gathered and used for strategic planning purposes. We used surveys, research, student panel feedback, student interviews, virtual meetings, professional development task completion, KSD student SEL, discipline, attendance, and more. This data was analyzed, considered, and serves as a foundation for our work and next steps. Since this is just the beginning, there will be more data to gather, sift through, and use for planning and decision-making purposes. 

We are pleased to share that we have moved along a little further in our planning process and have some idea about what we will ultimately produce as an outcome of this yearlong work with this initial cohort. We will plan to share professional development and building culture change experiences with other principals at principal level meetings, monthly all admin leadership meetings, through school observations, and perhaps at showcase events/activities. This transformational change will yield newfound energy and opportunity to focus on creating highly engaging, relevant learning experiences for students, staff, and administrators. 

2023-24 Fall Progress Update

Our December 7, learning objectives for the KSD Leadership Team meeting focused on engaging district administrators in ongoing and shared learning around expanding student partnerships by embracing and developing a school culture that incorporates a pedagogy of student voice rather than the traditional compliance model. Leaders considered what creating a culture through student voice sounds, looks, and feels like using actual "live" students as a focal point for discussion. In addition, building leaders assessed their current state of Student Voice pedagogy implementation in their schools using a continuum of student participation characteristics on a scale from 1-5. Further, leaders were invited to participate in a traditional school yearlong cohort professional development and collaboration process. The day culminated with a definition of student voice and reviewing/collaborating around research findings regarding student achievement, social/emotional learning, and other positive student outcomes/conditions experienced when the implementation of student voice pedagogy is implemented well.

We are engaging a diverse cohort of schools across the district in a multi-month inquiry/case study focused on gaining a greater understanding of the systems current state regarding:

  • Existing school student demographic, discipline, academic, attendance and other important and useful data.
  • Existing structures and programs for students to grow and leverage their leadership skills and capacity.
  • Existing strategies and tools school teams use to gather, analyze and respond to student voice.
  • Existing behaviors and language used to shape and build a school culture that promotes student partnerships.

Following the inquiry and using researched toolkit samples, we will use the findings to inform the structure of a KSD Student Voice & Leadership Guide with scaffolding and differentiated strategies schools can use in partnership with students. The goal for this year is to identify the content and structure/outline for the guide based on where our schools are currently at with implementing a school culture of Student Voice pedagogy and its student data outcomes.

Having our schools and district office, as well as our city government, a small interdependent ecosystem, commit to creating space with students for shared learning accountability, power, and decision-making will be a game changer for student attendance, social/emotional, behavior, and achievement outcomes both in and outside of the schoolhouse. We have small glimpses of what that could look like, sound like, and feel like for kids and suspect that a powershift move will yield fruitful outcomes for academic and economic purposes as well as adult energy focused, proactive purposes. We need all our students in all environments to know they are welcome, safe, belong, valued, engaged in relevant learning and life experiences, have space to share ideas/opinions, and space to advocate for their needs without worry or retaliation.

Centering Stakeholder Voice

We will use a school voice cohort experience to model a co-created, co-led gathering of resources, content, stakeholder feedback, and collected data. This data will inform what will be in the guide for adults to utilize with students. This guide will provide guidance for how to create student space for student voice in the classroom, school building, at the district office, in the community, and in this region when it comes to advocating for others, expressing opinions, and creating positive change. We have noted a later need to add state, national, and international level student participation as we are preparing our students to be global citizens. In the spirit of continuous improvement, the guide should be considered a working document that will be updated as needed.