Empowering Youth Voice

CASEL’s latest SEL Trends brief, Empowering Youth Voice, focuses on efforts of three large urban school districts to engage students as active participants in their learning.

In Chicago, every high school and 35 middle schools have Student Voice Committees, which focus on issues such as student-teacher feedback protocols, peer mentoring, and other mental health resources.  

In Cleveland, 10 students from each high school meet quarterly with CEO Eric Gordon to discuss issues such as boosting college enrollment and improving student-police relationships.

In Washoe County, Nev., students as young as first-graders lead an annual data symposium, where they consider what to do in response to the district’s school climate survey data.  

Helping students to find and use their voice to make change requires both the promotion of students’ social and emotional competence and a safe and caring learning environment where adults are listening to and valuing what students have to say.

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