Informing Policy and Sustaining School Reform with Student Voices
School Reform traditionally consists of hiring an experienced educational leader to collaboratively develop a strategic plan that can be supported by all, implemented with fidelity, monitored with efficiency, and results in success for students and staff. However, most school improvement efforts are not successful or sustainable. Students, especially children of color, are not improving academically and the achievement gap continues to exist. This is due, in part, to the fact that school, district, and State leaders do not engage students and their voices in the identification, development, and implementation of effective strategies. Via a pilot program the Michigan Department of Education developed strategies to collect, analyze, and use student voice to inform school, district, and State leaders resulting in policy changes, improved student achievement, and sustained school reform. This presentation will focus on the implementation of these strategies and policy changes.
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Dr. Saunders is a former teacher, principal, and superintendent in communities of high poverty and academic underperformance. Her work with the Michigan Department of Education for the past three years has been to facilitate the African American Young Men of Promise Initiative where student voice has been an integral component of the work with school and district leaders as they address academic and climate and culture issues.