Set aside a day where a whole-school conference allows for students to talk to one another and voice their concerns to administrators as well as create solutions.
Plan a day for the entire student body to engage with the inspirED Process. If you have school climate data, start the day by presenting this information to students. From there, send students into breakout groups, each led by a facilitator from the inspirED team. Try modeling the day after the inspirED Process: Assessing school climate, Brainstorming possible solutions, Committing to and completing a project idea, and Debriefing results
For Assess, facilitators can run focus group conversations in their session, asking students to contribute their ideas about school climate. Facilitators can also run discussions asking students to examine whole-school climate data.
For Brainstorm, facilitators can lead students through a discussion about creative ideas to improve areas of school climate.
For Commit, facilitators can involve their group in action-planning as well as starting the early stages of a project. This is also a good time to recruit new members on your inspirED team! Encourage students from diverse background and groups to attend so your team can represent many perspectives.
Groups likely won’t finish their projects before the end of the day, but facilitators can encourage their groups to think about the Debrief stage by asking questions like, “How would you know that we’ve improved in this area?” or “What would it look like when this area of school climate is much better?”
End the day by wrapping up everyone’s experience, either in small groups or by coming back together as a large group. Don’t forget to thank everyone for their input, and ask if anyone else wants to join inspirED!
Tips & Suggestions:
- An inspirED Forum can be a day or half a day event.
- Administrators and faculty can have their own meeting periods during the day, or join student groups.
- Ahead of the day, create a schedule with lists of breakout groups and facilitators. Make sure each facilitator is prepared with any handouts or materials they’ll need, discussion questions, the schedule for the day, and a comfortable space to meet.
- Consider creating flyers or information sheets to pass out to let people know when the net inspirED meeting is, and how they can get involved.
- Studies show that when students feel they have more of a voice in their schools, rates of high school dropout decline (Smyth, 2006).
- Schools that involve students in decision-making are more likely to have collaborative and cooperative relationships between faculty and students (Leren, 2006).
- Positive student-teacher relationships lead to higher levels of student engagement and improved learning outcomes (Skinner & Belmont, 1993).