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Student Voices

New Horizons for Learning acknowledges with gratitude the contribution of the HumanLinks Foundation as sponsors of the Student Voice in Transforming Education site.

All too often the most important people involved in education are left out of conversations about and planning for educational transformation. Many students have valuable ideas about what would make their learning more meaningful and engaging, yet they are often being educated without voice or choice in the process. How often do we really listen to them?

In this area of our website, we ask students to share their insights about what works and what doesn't work for them in school and other environments for learning. We are currently experimenting with different ways of interviewing them through video, as well as involving students themselves as interviewers and film-producers. We also include articles by educators about how to encourage student involvement and how to create more open and participatory environments for learning.

Today's students are bright, well-informed, and have valuable ideas to contribute. See for yourself! We are seeking further examples to post, so if you know of students who would like to take this opportunity to participate in a growing collection of student wisdom, please let us know. Articles by students and teachers may be submitted to us at


Why Listen to Students?
Chris Unger
We can engage students in learning only if we listen to them.

Success by Design
Deborah Moffit
Deborah describes Interagency Academy, a public school in Seattle designed to meet the needs of its students. The article includes links to videos of Academy students voicing their thoughts on education.

A Call to Action: A Global Youth Empowerment Society (YES)
by Gary Goldman and Allen Schmieder
YES proposes a virtual society, utilizing three key components: one, the power of the World Wide Web's virtual architecture; second, a proven, common sense approach to community building, (Youth-Centered Community Collaboratives); and third, the final component - the often untapped human resource (i.e. knowledge, leadership, skills, and energy) of America's youth.

Student Leadership Today
Grant Nelson
The student body president of a Washington State high school explains his views that positive student leadership entails building community within a school.

Leadership: From a Student's Point of View
Chris Smith
For this Seattle Center School sophomore, student leadership equals individual empowerment and less acceptance of the tyrannies of social cliques and peer pressure.

The Environmental and Adventure School
Danna Crewdson and David Perlmutter
Two ninth grade student authors describe their middle school, which encourages students to be leaders while learning about and experiencing the natural world.

A Case for Classics in Middle and High School
Cara Ruccolo
A Phillips Academy Senior promotes the value of studying classics in the secondary level.

Kidz America TV Show: Giving Youth a Voice
Gary Goldman
The International Quality Leadership Institute is launching the Kidz America TV Show that will provide a voice and forum for kids to engage in dialogue with community leaders about critical issues.

Recommended Reading


Related Links

An organization with the goal of teaching young people about media. They have a free e-newsletter.

Minority Student Achievement Network engages students in the conversation about what they can do to improve their own achievement to close the achievement gap.

The Freechild Project
Resources for Social Change by and with young people
A nonprofit organization made up of over 4,000 schools in nearly 100 countries. It offers over 100 projects designed and facilitated by teachers and students.

Seattle Young People's Project
A youth-led, youth-driven organization that empowers youth to express themselves and to take action on issues that affect their lives

© May 2010

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