Tuesday, March 5, 2013

CPS Student Leaders Dialogue with Principals at Harris Fellows Summit

More than 125 CPS student leaders from 12 schools around the city met with high school principals to discuss important school improvement issues.  Clemente High School hosted the Summit as students worked together to discuss and deliberate on four broad issue areas before presenting their ideas and recommendations to principals.

Students participate in team building activity with principals

The third annual summit focused on the following issues:
  1. Classroom Instruction
  2. Student Voice and Leadership
  3. Restorative Justice
  4. Community Building in Classrooms
Students named these issues as opportunities to build better relationships at schools and engage more deeply in academic learning.  Students recognize the power of positive relationships in schools among students, teachers, and administrators in order to achieve desired academic gains.  Students also recognized the important of including student voice more regularly in important school decisions. 

As students discussed and deliberated with their peers and with principals, they developed recommendations in each area:
  1. Classroom Instruction - Teachers should be encouraged to enforce classroom rules consistently and provide engaging lesson plans that are project-oriented, promote classroom discussion, and involve everyone in learning.
  2. Student Voice and Leadership - Every CPS high school should have a Student Voice Committee with more support from faculty and staff where that is lacking.
  3. Restorative Justice - Adults should work to listen to problems students are experiencing and work to de-escalate tensions and not resort to suspensions.  Students should seek out adults to sponsor restorative justice programs at their schools.
  4. Community Building in Classrooms - A panel of students should present ideas and recommendations at Network Chief meetings and teachers and students should spend up to 5 minutes every day discussion teen social issues with the goal of building positive relationships and help students focus.

Principals listen to student ideas on classroom community building

The Harris Fellows Student/Principal Summit was the third annual gathering of students and principals.  A video of the 2nd Annual Summit is available at http://vimeo.com/59871147.  Harris Fellows student leaders work to develop leadership skills and capacities among students and provide opportunities for students to articulate and express their concerns and ideas to powerful people.  This year Harris Fellows is focusing efforts on building Student Voice Committees at 16 high schools currently participating in the Global Citizenship Initiative.   For more information contact Cristina Salgado at ccsalgado@cps.edu

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