Monday, February 28, 2011

Students and Principals Discuss School Improvement Issues at Feburary Summit

Students and Principals from throughout Chicago Public Schools gathered at Curie High School on Saturday, February 26, to discuss student perspectives on important school issues at the Harris Fellows Student/Principal Dialogue Summit.

Student leaders have expressed interest in meeting with principals to discuss the following issues: Standardized testing, teacher/student relationships, classroom management, and diversity in our schools.

After students gathered in the early morning to articulate their ideas and prepare presentations, principals joined the students to hear their insights and brainstorm ways to address their concerns.

In a session on standardized testing, students expressed concern that the tests do not assess them in a wholistic way. They are more interested in tests that assess their skills without being reduced to a set of multiple choice questions. Students also expressed concern that the tests drive instruction that does not build important life skills.

Students also discussed teacher/student relationships as well and identified teachers who take the time to get to know the students, understand their background, and demonstrate care for them are the most successful in the classroom.

The Student/Principal Dialogue Summit was the first of its kind. Students and principals left feeling inspired to continue the conversation. Princpals, in fact, signed a poster committing to attend follow-up summits.

Student voice continues to be an extremely important component of school improvement. Harris Fellows is interested in working with schools wanting to build organizational capacity to include student voice in decision-making at their schools. It's clear that students are ready for this important responsibility and the principals in attendance were clearly support of including student voice at their schools.

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