Tagged “Student Voice”

Dru Tomlin

Making a Difference through Student Advocacy Programs

The students needed me to make a difference, and they couldn't wait another year for me to figure it out. The disciplinary referrals were piling up in the manila folder on my desk. Their pink, yellow, and white triplicate forms were complete and signed by parents and guardians and entered into the school system's data management system. Even though I had already dealt with these behavior documents and events, they still troubled me.

As the assistant principal for 8th grade, they bothered me because the same students' names populated the forms day after day. They had become "frequent flyers" in my office. And even though I was doing my job as it was assigned, I knew I needed to do something different to serve these students. Turning students' lives into ink and paper was simple, but it wasn't enough. It wasn't making a real difference in their daily lives at school and beyond.

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Whole Child Symposium

Equity: The Driver for School Improvement?

What will drive school improvement in the future? Some believe that it will be choice—ensuring that students have choice in what and how they learn; allowing teachers to have greater autonomy in the classroom; and, possibly, providing families expanded choice of schools.

For others the key driver may be ensuring equity. Proponents argue that the biggest barrier to effective education is equity of resources and opportunities. Pasi Sahlberg, currently a visiting professor at Harvard University and the former director general for the Centre for International Mobility and Cooperation (CIMO) in Helsinki, has made the case that Finland's meteoric rise has been as a result of a focus on equity, and that this has been consistent across the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development's Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) high performers (Korea, Canada, and Japan).

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Whole Child Symposium

The Dilemma of Choice

The decisions we make today—for our systems, our schools, and our classrooms—will affect what all of our tomorrows will look like. This spring, ASCD hosted its inaugural Whole Child Symposium, a series of in-person and online events in which experts, policymakers, teachers, and students discussed education policies, processes, and practices and their influence on children, societies, and economies in the future.

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Whole Child Symposium

Virtual Panels Discuss Choice, Equity, and Change

Building on the conversation started at the earlier Whole Child Symposium Town Hall and Live events, last week's Virtual panel discussions went even further to identify what currently works in education, what we need in the future to be successful, and how this can be accomplished. Watch the archived sessions below and let us know how we can improve the symposium experience.

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Whole Child Symposium

A Matter of Choice

Post written by Walter McKenzie

Perfect Choice Logo CircuitWhat if I told you the answer to all that ails public education is choice? Not dollars. Not standardization. Not test scores. Choice. Surprisingly effective in its simplicity.

The current education equation is not simple by any stretch of the imagination and it doesn't reference choice nor children:

  • Education is a public enterprise funded by taxpayers.
  • Government reports to taxpayers on its performance.
  • Elected officials craft policy and practice in the name of accountability.

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Whole Child Symposium

Today on the Whole Child Symposium Virtual: Classroom Instruction and Students

ASCD's inaugural Whole Child Symposium concludes this week with a series of virtual panels featuring school leaders, policy experts, teachers, and students. You can register, participate live, and join in the discussions on social media. Each panel will discuss what currently works in education, what we will need in the future to be successful, and how this can be accomplished.

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Eric Russo

Putting the Child into Whole Child: Give Students Voice to Improve Your Practice

Recently I was having a discussion with a colleague who is new to the building. This teacher is confident, self-assured, and has decades of experience more than me. We teach the same children, so we meet frequently for RTI and team meetings. This is the type of teacher that takes pride in being "old school," which roughly translates to a no-nonsense, quiet-equals-learning, behavior-should-have-negative-consequences type of environment. It's the model that many of us grew up with. Although I was able to navigate through this system because I was a so-called "good student," many friends were not particularly successful, with the logical assumption that they were "bad students." This model puts the system itself as the driving force for success, which is disempowering both to educators and to the students alike.

Now, the conversation in question did not go smoothly, especially when I insensitively insisted that the teacher "would not be successful" using this old school approach. Realizing that I was working against my goal, I quickly concluded with a final statement that I paraphrased from a Maya Angelou quote: People don't remember what you say; they remember how you made them feel. It is a statement that I share with staff and students, and for me it is at the foundation of the type of teacher I strive to be. It is also at the core of the safe and supported tenets of the whole child approach.

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Whole Child Symposium

Russell Quaglia: From Dreaming to Doing

Post written by Laura Varlas

Russell Quaglia - 2014 ASCD Annual ConferenceHow would you rate your ability to put your dreams into practice? How would you rate your students?

Aspirations—having goals and being inspired in the present to pursue them—challenge us to match our dreams with actions, explained Russell Quaglia at his lively 2014 ASCD Annual Conference general session. But for many students, he added, aspirations get lost in the limbo between dreaming and doing.

"We have a lot of dreamers, but not a lot of doers," he said. "The disconnect between kids' hopes and dreams and how they're going to reach them is profound." Drawing on MyVoice surveys of more than 1 million students done by the Quaglia Institute for Student Aspirations (QISA), Quaglia argued that this gap is symptomatic of a student population in which about half feel disengaged and disconnected from their school community.

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Whole Child Symposium

ASCD’s Whole Child Symposium Tackles Questions About the Future of Education

2014 Whole Child SymposiumWhat do we need from education? How are we preparing students for the world they will enter?

This spring, ASCD is launching its inaugural Whole Child Symposium, a series of discussions to tackle these important questions. Through a town hall discussion, a live event, and a series of virtual panels, the symposium aims to push and expand conversations about effective education and education systems around the world. The 2014 theme is "Choosing Your Tomorrow Today," in which we explore how what we decide today regarding education policies, processes, and practices influences our children, societies, and economies tomorrow.

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ASCD Whole Child Bloggers

Engaging Curriculum: A Foundation for Positive School Culture

Post written by David Hunter

As a curriculum designer who advocates for project-based learning, I strongly believe that curriculum plays a major role in the school culture but can often go unconsidered when developing a vision around that culture. At first glance, curriculum and culture may seem to be separate issues, but when you look deeper, curriculum can be a foundation for the culture because it's representative of how students are interacting with learning on a daily basis. To that end, creating a positive school culture requires that students play a part in curriculum design and implementation.

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