When students realize their voices have power, they begin to see themselves as authentic leaders who have important points of view to offer. In turn, K-12 leaders that encourage and empower students to express their ideas and beliefs are doing a great service. Schools and districts that adopt this type of student-centered approach to learning increase student engagement, energy, and creativity.
This concept is at the very core of our book, “Student Voice: From Invisible to Invaluable.” In it, we seek to address two key questions:
- Why should today’s school leaders engage student voice from a leadership perspective?
- How can today’s school leaders engage student voice from a leadership perspective?
Before we dive into those topics, however, let’s take a step back and reflect on the evolution of education in America. In the 19th century, Massachusetts Secretary of Education Horace Mann worked to create a statewide system of teachers based on the Prussian model of “common schools.” The Prussian model referred to the belief that everyone was entitled to the same content in education.
Since the mid-19th century, this type of one-size-fits-all learning philosophy has largely defined our nation’s approach to education. But that doesn’t mean it should moving forward.
Research strongly suggests this sort of generalized, impersonal instructional method is counterproductive to student achievement. Studies (like the published works of John Hattie) point to the importance of factors like collective teacher efficacy, self-reported grades, teacher estimates of achievement, cognitive task analysis, and response to intervention.
Many of these achievement factors have one thing in common: educators putting individual students at the forefront of instruction.
Now, let’s get back to the idea of student voice. Given what research shows about the importance of student-centered education, it’s easy to get excited about the possibilities of increased student engagement in the classroom.
The question becomes, then, what does stronger student voice look like in your district? How can your educators make this paradigm shift possible? And what learning outcomes can you realistically achieve?
We’d like to invite you to join us on Thursday, July 26, to further explore this topic in our webinar: Student Voice: From Invisible to Invaluable.
We’ll discuss the importance of student voice in governance, service, character, education, technology, design, communication, equity, and evaluation. And we’ll provide actionable insight into:
- Steps leaders can take to incorporate deep and meaningful student voice in leadership
- How to inspire students by letting them have a say in their own education
- Examples of excellence, stories of success, and practical tips to help you move student voice from invisible to invaluable
We hope you’ll set aside 30 minutes to join us in this special presentation. We’ll see you in the webinar!
About the authors
Dr. Michael Lubelfeld has been a public school superintendent in Illinois since 2010, and he has 25 years of experience as an instructor and education leader. Lubelfeld, who was named Lake County Superintendent of the Year last May, is currently superintendent of North Shore School District 112. He was superintendent of schools in Deerfield (DPS 109) since 2013, and he’s served as an adjunct professor at National Louis University since 2005. He can be followed on Twitter at @mikelubelfeld.
Dr. Nick Polyak is the superintendent for Leyden Community High School District #212 in Illinois. Polyak, who was named Superintendent of Distinction by his colleagues in Cook West Region of the Illinois Association of School Administrators (IASA) in April 2016, has nearly 20 years of service in K-12 education. Follow Dr. Polyak on Twitter at @npolyak.