Amplify Student Voice

Amplify Student Voice

When it comes to thinking about a new school year and how we can build that culture that will last all year long, another of my reminders to myself (and others) is the importance of amplifying student voice.

There are so many ways that this can be done, but here are 3 of my favorites!

Classroom Design

Every year as a teacher I went all out designing my classroom so that it was this amazing space for my students to enter. Then at some point in my career I realized that I was designing a space completely based on what I liked. It was MY classroom, not OUR classroom.

So that’s when I decided to relinquish a little control. I still decorated three of the walls in my classroom and went all out trying to create an experience and a special space for my students. But I left the fourth wall completely blank.

Why?

Because that fourth wall was the wall that I was going to let my students design. If the classroom really is OUR space, I needed to relinquish a little control and let them have some ownership too.

If you have multiple classes, you can easily let one class decorate the wall a month or even take painters tape and section the wall off and let each period decorate a different section.

I dive deeper into this in my culture courses HERE.

Student Advisory Groups

Feedback is crucial to our long term success. But garnering feedback can be intimidating and you have to learn to really take each comment as a learning opportunity.

As a classroom teacher, I had my students complete a survey every Friday. In that survey they told me what they liked about my class that week, what they didn’t like, and what I could do better. It was by FAR one of the most instrumental things in making me a better teacher.

As a principal, I created Student Advisory Groups. This group consisted of 3-5 students from every grade level who met with me twice a month. They told me what they enjoyed about our school, what they wished would change, and a big dream for our school.

It was so powerful to make changes based on the feedback of students when we really stopped and listened.

I dive deeper into this in my culture courses HERE.

Classroom Greeters

I can’t talk enough about how much I love having classroom greeters. This was created by my buddy Adam Dovico. We write extensively about it in our book When Kids Lead.

Essentially every classroom on our campus has a classroom greeter. We teach every student how to make a S.P.E.C.I.A.L. first impression. How to have a conversation. And each classroom designates a greeter.

This student’s job is to make sure that any time an adult enters the classroom, they are greeted upon arrival. Instruction doesn’t have to stop, but that person always gets greeted.

I dive much deeper into this in my culture courses HERE.

In Closing….

When it comes to building culture we have to make sure we are amplifying the voices of our students. That we are taking the time to listen and ACT.

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