Over the past several weeks, the world has witnessed the grieving students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School question legislators, advocate for action, and galvanize support for a national social movement. With poise and composure, these students have seemed prepared to articulate a message with a voice and perspective that has been absent from public discourse prior to their personal and collective tragedy. And within a matter of days, thousands have answered their calls and planned marches in the streets, donated to organizations, and pushed legislation forward.
Some of the students, themselves, have been clear in attributing their preparedness to their educational experiences. They have noted an array of educational courses and activities that have given them opportunities to consider, research, articulate, and defend issues and causes.
In examining the culture of Broward County Schools, it is clear that the development of student voice is a top district priority and a common thread throughout various academic and extracurricular programs.
Broward’s emphasis on student voice ties together many 21st-century learning goals: it builds communication skills, often requires collaboration among students, and forces students to think critically and creatively about problems and solutions. Further, it empowers students to have agency in their education, life outcomes, and broader communities. Broward has district-wide programs that encourage courageous conversations about race and social justice, has the largest Debate program in the country (including a team at a juvenile justice facility), and provides structured ways to promote student activism and engagement in legislative affairs. While the Marjory Stoneman Douglas students are absolutely exceptional, their acumen in productively using their voice is a standard goal for all students in Broward County Schools.
Read the full article on student voice by Erin Gohl at Getting Smart
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