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ERIC Number: ED526512
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2010
Pages: 201
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 0
ISBN: ISBN-978-1-1245-4694-0
Leadership to Support Student Voice: The Role of School Leaders in Supporting Meaningful Student Government and Voice
Pautsch, Catherine A.
ProQuest LLC, Ph.D. Dissertation, The University of Wisconsin - Madison
Student voice is defined as meaningful opportunities that allow students to take an active role in the decision-making that influences their lives. While there is a growing body of literature linking student voice to increased student engagement, achievement, civic engagement and successful school reform, the role of the principal in supporting meaningful student voice is relatively unexplored. Further, there is limited research on student council, the most commonplace vehicle for student voice within schools. Research has documented the lack of student voice opportunities for students who have been traditionally marginalized, specifically within student council and has shown that the majority of student councils are made up of white, female, middle class students, predominantly focused on social activities. Given these gaps and findings in the literature, this study addressed three research questions: (1) How can student council be used as a vehicle for student voice? (2) What are the key moments for school leaders in constructing a space in which youth might have the opportunity to actively participate in school decisions that will shape their lives and the school? and (3) What challenged or facilitated these key moments? A Key Moments framework was applied to identify the moments in which the advisor and principal's roles mattered most in supporting student voice. This qualitative embedded case study was situated in one mid-size, urban high school that restructured its student government with the goal of providing students, representative of the school's diversity, with a genuine voice in their school. Within the larger case were four sub cases, led by four distinct advisors, and each demonstrating a varied enactment of student voice. The data collected drew from interviews with students, advisors and administrators, observations, field notes and archival data collected over a year and a half period. This study found that the traditional student council structure, entrenched in tradition, challenged opportunities for meaningful student voice. The analysis suggested that the principal and advisor role was most critical in the areas of vision, structure and support in supporting student voice. This study concludes with implications for practitioners as well as researchers. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
ProQuest LLC. 789 East Eisenhower Parkway, P.O. Box 1346, Ann Arbor, MI 48106. Tel: 800-521-0600; Web site:
Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: High Schools
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A