Shining the Spotlight on Educator Voice

One student's story, cutting college costs, and a chance for educators to share their stories. 5 resources to help you jumpstart the week in your classroom.

By Team XQ

Hello, readers! And welcome back to the start of a new school year! This week, we’re shining the spotlight on educator voice (yes!), listening to a student’s high school journey, reflecting on Springpoint’s Opportunity by Design initiative, calling on teachers to help their students register to vote, and exploring how high schools can reduce the cost of college. Don’t miss the “X-tra from XQ” section for info about how you can join our group of writers.

1. Share: An opportunity for educators to share their stories

Encouraging students to speak their truths is a powerful, impactful way for them to tell their stories – and for us to learn from their experiences. Just as important, though, are the voices of the educators responsible for expanding their learners’ worlds. By sharing your stories, you send a powerful message to both your students and those who doubt that change in our classrooms and high schools is possible. If you have a story to share, we hope you’ll consider submitting to Future Focused Education’s “If You Ask Me…” Teacher Voices Gallery, an “augmented reality exhibit that shows how creative, compassionate teachers improve students’ lives and communities.”

2. Speak: A learner’s journey from traditional high school to Iowa BIG grad

Earlier this year, the Education Reimagined Symposium took place in Washington, D.C. In her “Stories of Impact” video, Iowa BIG graduate Megan Matson reflects on how she not only broke out of her conventional student mold, but how she took control of her own learning initiatives. Her talk a powerful example of student voice. She highlights why it’s essential to rethink high school: “The fact that a bell can determine what I learn and when I learn makes me mad.”

3. Reflect: Looking back and moving forward with Opportunity by Design

According to Matthew Pilarski, “the most successful schools understand that design is never done.” In May 2019,  Springpoint’s culminating convening for Opportunity by Design partners looked back on the six years since the launch of the initiative. Over three days, they delved into what’s been learned since – their successes and failures – and what’s developing on the classroom design horizon. Topics include: strengthening community-based education, obtaining the right kinds of support for schools, rethinking high school, sustainability planning, and more.

4. Engage: Helping high schoolers register to vote

Only 1 in 3 of the country’s youngest eligible voters cast a ballot in the nation’s most recent elections. That means, with regards to deciding who’s in office and who’s not, our students’ voices are decidedly quiet. To increase those numbers, Michelle Obama’s voting initiative, When We All Vote, is calling on teachers to help their eligible students to register to vote and participate in elections at the local and national levels. By helping students register, we can help ensure their voices are truly heard.

5. Reduce: How high schools can help cut college costs

Students in cap and gown

Joe Raedle/Getty Images

With the average cost of tuition at in-state colleges approaching $10,000 a year, higher education is an enormous financial commitment. Just think of the mountain of student loan debt shared by 42 million people across the country. But what if there was a way students could get a jump on college costs while still in high school? According to Rahm Emanuel, former Chicago mayor and White House Chief of Staff under President Obama, high schools can do just that by offering more Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate programs starting in the 11th and 12th grades.

X-tra from XQ

We’re excited to announce that we just launched our NEW XQ BLOG! It’s designed to tell the stories of the people who are working to rethink and transform public high school. And we hope your story will be one of them! Here are 10 reasons why we think teachers should tell their stories. Interested in contributing? Tell us a little bit about yourself and your ideas and we’ll follow up with details.