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ERIC Number: ED520110
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2011-Jan-10
Pages: 32
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 27
Students as Co-Constructors of the Learning Environment: Building Systemic Approaches for Youth Engagement
Academy for Educational Development
This paper presents inspiring stories of two school districts--Boston and Sacramento--that are changing their high schools through districtwide student engagement initiatives. These stories illustrate years of hard work, dedication and partnership by many young people, advocates, advisors, teachers, principals and district personnel. Each district, in its own way, developed a strategy to authentically listen to, partner with, and engage young people in ways that have allowed them to take leadership roles in improving their schools. Boston and Sacramento are two of many districts that have invested in working side by side with students. Though often challenging, their commitment to engaging students and creating opportunities for youth voice has made a real difference: new student-centered policies are being implemented, adult attitudes are changing, and schools are beginning to look more like the places that students envision them and need them to be. These case studies demonstrate that this type of authentic youth engagement requires both a broad support network and more importantly a few dedicated individuals who are able to advocate fearlessly for its inclusion. In Boston and Sacramento, these advocates have been adult champions who are skilled strategists, knowledgeable educators, and effective youth workers who were able to find that delicate balance of support and empowerment. The experiences of Boston and Sacramento also suggest that meaningful, districtwide student engagement in school policies and initiatives requires a true partnership between a diverse group of young people--some of whom may be unsure about how to find their voice in the adult-dominated world of schools--and the adults who sit on school boards and traditionally create district policies. These case studies demonstrate that, with the appropriate amount of support and training, these young people, regardless of where they begin, will be able to step up, take action, and represent their peers by voicing their opinions and advocating for change. (Contains 27 footnotes.) [This paper was co-published by Youth on Board.]
Academy for Educational Development. 1825 Connecticut Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20009-5721. Tel: 202-884-8000; Fax: 202-884-8400; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: High Schools; Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: Academy for Educational Development
Identifiers - Location: California; Massachusetts