By Peter Chung, Operations Manager, Young Voices
Since 2010, Young Voices has been supporting students at the Juanita Sanchez Educational Complex (JSEC) to have an authentic voice in the redesign of their high school. Through the Principal’s Leadership Program (PLP), youth conduct research, surveying a majority of students and leading in-depth focus groups where they ask their peers what should be done to increase graduation and attendance rates. The students use this data to create policy recommendations to make their schools more student-centered places that effectively engage students, and work closely with their principal and school committees to implement these policies.
During this Hub season, twenty students are participating in the Young Voices program. On a typical day, you may find students engaging in a range of dynamic activity such as life skills development, deep conversations on school related issues, ice breakers, projects, circles, and small and large group work. The students are currently discussing and working on Restorative Practice, a Youth Leadership Summit, ELO Demo Day, and School Attendance.
A particularly impressive accomplishment by students in Young Voices is the creation of the above attendance video, which has helped JSEC reach record-breaking attendance rates. Since the video release in the classrooms last fall, the average daily attendance at JSEC has been above 90%, a first for JSEC. The video was inspired by student voice and participation in school committees. While the committees were thinking of how to reach students with important messages like coming to school, the Young Voices member in the committee committed Young Voices to making the video. She thought that instead of a generic video, a video that was created by and featured their peers would capture JSEC students’ attention more. The video certainly engages students, and by providing students a platform to speak out, it has also helped spark positive change in the school.
For more information on the Young Voices program, please click here.