Showcasing Secondary Schools

SHOWCASING SECONDARY SCHOOLS

The schools below are a few amazing highlights from middle and high/secondary schools around the world who are committed to amplifying student voice. A special thank you to these schools for being willing to put their practices on display. Our hope is that these examples will provide a spark of inspiration as we listen to and learn from one another. Please contact us at [email protected] if you would like to submit evidence of your student voice work to be included in this Showcasing Schools page.

Schools of Action Cross-Collaboration

Gage Middle School, Lawrence Middle School, & Sutter Middle School

Members from Aspirations Teams at Gage, Lawrence, and Sutter Middle Schools met online to share strategies for engaging with students as critical partners to establish and maintain a positive school culture where all students have a strong sense of Belonging. Gage Middle shared their Academies structure and how they are using their Pillars of Character to drive school culture. Lawrence Middle shared their Heart Club which provides structure for peer mediation, as well as their structure for 8th graders to mentor groups of 6th graders on a weekly basis during Advisory time as part of their PRIDE program. Sutter Middle shared about their incredible Kind Club that goes above and beyond to develop leaders who contribute not only to their own school, but to surrounding elementary schools as well. Click here to explore the amazing work of the Kind Club students. 

Northridge Academy High School: Sit with Wisdom

Sit with Wisdom

Written by Jason Black, Teacher, Northridge Academy High School

“Sit with Wisdom” is an event at NAHS through which students are strategically selected to enjoy a catered lunch with one of their teachers (approximately eight students per teacher). The “wisdom” component stems from the knowledge and experiences that students share with the teacher seated at their decorated, prom-style table. The general vibe of a “Sit with Wisdom” lunch involves the purposeful stripping away of traditional boundaries inherent in the student-teacher relationship in order for all parties to exist on the same plane for a brief moment in time. That brief moment becomes a priceless opportunity for students to build a lifetime of connections with their teachers by sitting with them, eye-to-eye, eating the same food, smiling as they bite into generous portions of ice cream or other frozen treats, and sharing wisdom with one another. “Sit with Wisdom” is an important time when students can actually “see” their teachers as allies in their pursuit of personal success. The wisdom that is shared between teachers and students during these “Sit with Wisdom” lunches continues to positively impact our school culture and sustain our support for one another as a community of learners—the NAHS family.

Chatsworth Charter High School: Student Voice Book Club

A Student Voice & Aspirations Book Club is being led by the Aspirations Team at Chatsworth Charter High School. All staff are invited to participate in one or more book studies through the school year. When each study concludes, participants prepare a professional learning session to deliver to the full faculty about what they have learned and how it connects to amplifying student voice at Chatsworth. Click here to view the Book Club overview and invitation shared with all staff.

Reseda Charter High School: Leveraging Advisory to Explore Student Voice

QR codes have been utilized by the Aspirations Team at Reseda Charter High School to engage students in monthly Advisory Class Challenges related to the 8 Conditions. The goal is to create some Fun & Excitement on campus while providing experiences for students to embrace and act upon the 8 Conditions. Click here to view the video explaining the November Belonging Challenge.

Reseda has started an Advisory Ambassadors program to give more students opportunities to engage in leadership and to have their voices heard on a regular basis throughout the school year. (See flyer below for more information.) They have also used Advisory time to teach key Student Voice & Aspirations concepts to all 6th graders, reflecting Reseda’s commitment to building a schoolwide understanding of the definition of voice and fostering everyone’s aspirations. This is also an opportunity for students entering Reseda to explore what voice looks like in the life of Regent students.

Edison Middle School: Student Voice as a Way of Being

Student Voice & Aspirations is truly becoming a “way of being” at Edison Middle. The Aspirations Team continues to brilliantly expand this work schoolwide and has effectively connected their Quaglia work with their WASC Schoolwide Learner Outcomes, Social Emotional Learning goals, and other schoolwide initiatives. Click here to request permission to see the shared calendar and guiding document for how all these efforts are seamlessly connected and coordinated for the benefit of Edison staff and students. A few new members have joined the Aspirations Team, including two School Climate Advocates who have joined the staff this year. This team has done an excellent job of providing a significant number of new teachers with an orientation to Student Voice & Aspirations as an important part of the Edison school culture. Students truly serve as critical partners with staff and are very intentional about taking actions that support Student Voice & Aspirations. (See pictures below reflecting student leadership connecting actions to the 8 Conditions.) 

In partnership with students and based on analysis of their Student Voice survey data, Edison has been specifically focused on reestablishing a sense of Belonging for all students as they transitioned back to campus. They are also leveraging Fun & Excitement to reengage students in the in-person learning environment. The following are a few of the actions taken at Edison this year:

Belonging Actions:

  • Eagle Aspirations Advocate Program (EAAP). This is an intensive support opportunity for students who have been identified as at-promise and could benefit from an additional support system to adjust to, succeed in, and graduate from middle school. Click here to see an overview of EAAP.
  • Scholar Dollars. Students receive Scholar Dollars for doing a great job on class work, campus clean up, demonstrating respect, etc. Students use their Scholar Dollars to buy snacks and supplies from a school store on Fridays.
  • SOAR Awards. These certificates are given on a monthly basis to students who show improvement or excellence related to Schoolwide Learner Outcomes.
  • Attendance Awards. To help make sure all students know their teachers care that they come to school, gift cards are awarded to students who show improvement or excellence with their attendance.
  • Anti-Bullying Campaign. Various activities occur on a regular basis at Edison to encourage kindness and cultivate a sense of Belonging for all students.

Fun & Excitement Actions:

  • Edison Student News. This is a fun way to keep students informed about what’s happening around the school and to encourage participation. Click here to view a sample of Edison Student News.
  • Student Clubs. Effort is underway to review student clubs that were thriving pre-pandemic. Seven clubs are currently meeting with a goal of increasing participation and options in the spring.
  • Monthly Fun Fridays are held during lunchtime and include music, raffles, and games.
  • Spirit Weeks. These weeks provide additional opportunities for students to show their school spirit with door decorating, various dress up days, and other fun activities to celebrate the Edison school community.

Gage Middle School: A Sense of Belonging for All

At Gage Middle School, the focus of their student voice work throughout the fall of 2021 was to help all students develop a sense of Belonging and a connection with the school, staff, and peers. Students participated in Start With Hello, a Sandy Hook Promise violence prevention program. This program teaches students how to recognize when another student is alone, suggests ways to reach out and help lonely or socially isolated students, and provides strategies for connecting with other students to build a socially inclusive school community where everyone knows they belong. Start With Hello kicked off a Spirit Week which included student volunteers greeting their peers in the morning at entrance gates and lunchtime activities inviting students to contribute to a community banner displaying ideas on how to show kindness. Classes also met outside in the morning for get-to-know-you activities to help students and staff build relationships and further establish a sense of Belonging for all. 

Students and staff continued to collaborate throughout the semester to provide the entire school community with opportunities to work together for the good of the whole. Students planned a Character Counts assembly highlighting the six pillars of character to raise awareness and build connections. Leadership students followed up by creating a video demonstrating various ways the six pillars of character can be acted upon in school (click here to view the video). The school community also rallied together to participate in a canned food drive, Thanksgiving Trot, and a Christmas Toy Drive. This spring, a student club will promote empowering students to continue to take a proactive role in shaping their school’s culture and further cultivate a sense of Belonging for all students at Gage Middle.

Castro Middle School: Cultivating Self-Worth

Castro Middle school has focused on cultivating teachers’ Self-Worth in order to model and support teachers in cultivating their students’ Self-Worth. There is a conscious effort to promote Belonging and Sense of Accomplishment for all staff and students. The following are a few examples from Castro’s action plan to cultivate Self-Worth:

  • Monthly Breakfast. Administration has been hosting a monthly breakfast for all staff.
  • Instructional Leadership Team Retreat. The retreat, held on a Saturday, provided time to explore how leadership can best support the school's vision/mission which includes their Quaglia work. This retreat lead to a number of professional development sessions designed to encourage teamwork. 
  • Escape Room Professional Development. This meeting focused on teamwork and included the Quaglia Failfest activity that facilitates staff sharing various challenges they have faced and what was learned from those experiences (click here for Failfest resource). Teachers were encouraged to use the activities modeled during this professional learning with their Advisory students to help create a sense of Belonging (see pictures below).
  • Self-Care Professional Development. This meeting included an appreciation lunch during which staff participated in a guided painting activity with gift cards awarded to the artists with the top paintings (see pictures below).
  • Self-Care Challenge. All staff members were invited to participate in a Castro Self-Care Challenge during Thanksgiving break and prizes were provided for those who participated (click here to view the Self-Care Challenge).

Castro is also dedicating a great deal of energy into utilizing Advisory as a meaningful time to connect and cultivate students’ Self-Worth:

  • Community Building Fridays. Time is dedicated every Friday for teachers and students to build relationships and promote a sense of Belonging for all.
  • Common Reading. A common reading book has been selected for each grade level with the goal of using selected texts to guide discussions related to Purpose—specifically increasing a sense of Leadership & Responsibility and fostering Confidence to Take Action on social justice issues.

Chatsworth Charter High School: Student Voice Town Hall

Chatsworth Charter High School utilized their survey data to drive conversations and improvement efforts in partnership with students. On Wednesday Dec 1, 2021 schoolwide Zoom sessions were held, where students asked administrators questions pertaining to them.

Questions asked included:

  1. Why are the halls closed during lunch? 
  2. Can we add more periods to the schedule to take more quality courses?
  3. Why do you give detentions for being late in the morning? 
  4. Is it possible to move the daily pass check into the student parking lot? 
  5. Can we have Algebra 2 A/B for Saturday school or Winter Break? 
  6. When will other sports besides football get more support? 
  7. Why aren't we allowed to have Senior quotes this year? 
  8. Why are the bathrooms always closed? 
  9. Why is the dress code so unfair towards females? 
  10. Why can’t we wear LA Dodger hats? 
  11. Can we have nutrition or a longer lunch? 
  12. Why can’t Seniors have early leave? 
  13. Why don’t we have meetings translated into Spanish? 
  14. Can we enter through other gates besides the side ones? 
  15. Why is there no GSA or safe space for LGBTQ+ students? 
  16. Why aren’t students allowed to bring outside food or drinks on campus? 
  17. Can the school offer more sports? 
  18. Can we go back to the old schedule 7:45 - 2:30? 

Gage Middle School - The 6 Pillars of Character

Throughout the fall of 2021, Henry T. Gage Middle School focused on helping students develop a sense of belonging and connection to the school, staff, and peers as they transitioned back to campus for in-person learning.  Click here to learn more about actions taken at Gage to cultivate a sense of belonging for all.

Lawrence Middle School World Café 2021

In October of 2021 Lawrence Middle School conducted their fourth World Café Data Activity. Side by side, adult leaders and students analyzed Student Voice survey data with the goal of learning from students' perspectives about the transition back to in-person learning on campus. Students then brainstormed solutions for identified issues and actions that can be taken to further enhance the student experience at Lawrence. The World Café was never designed to be a one-time event. Lawrence hosts these regularly in order to obtain feedback from students on an ongoing basis. The insights students provide are critical to the continual improvement planning process. Student input has become part of the “way of being” at Lawrence. This spring the Student Voice survey will be administered again, and a new group of students will be invited to share their perspectives. Supporting Lawrence's new goal of involving students in conversations with staff about future professional development, these World Café participants will also engage in this collective planning. We strongly believe that we have a lot to learn from students if we are willing to listen—Lawrence knows how to listen! Click here to view a one-minute video highlighting Lawrence's most recent World Café Data Activity.

Huntington Park House of Representatives

One of the things we love to see happen in our Schools of Action is for leadership opportunities to grow and extend beyond traditional student council. We advocate for ALL students to have opportunities to experience leadership and meaningful opportunities to contribute to the school community. Huntington Park High School has established a House of Representatives as a critical part of student leadership at their school. Students are appointed from every advisory class and are responsible to participate in regular meetings in which they learn school updates and report them back to their peers. As part of the House of Representatives, students learn how to present information to the student body, and they also report back to the House of Representatives meeting if their peers have questions or feedback to share. This year, many representatives brought to the table concerns related to COVID and the move to remote learning. Student opinions and ideas were shared with the group regarding an overall decline in student grades, questions about the COVID illness, concerns about returning to campus, interest in opening in-person sports, and much more. These ideas and concerns were then taken to the administration who were able to work on solutions in partnership with student leaders and then share resulting actions during school wide assemblies. Download the presentation to view the running agenda, which shows the work of the House of Representatives during the 2020-21 school year.

Mt. Gleason Parent Presentation

The Aspirations Team at Mt Gleason Middle School delivered a presentation to parents about Student Voice during their regularly scheduled Coffee with the Principal. For Student Voice to truly become a way of being, all members of the school community, including parents and community members must be included. This is a great example representing the work many schools are doing to include families in their Student Voice & Aspirations work.

Click the image to the left to download the parent presentation.

Edison Middle School Voice & Aspirations Portfolio

The Aspirations Team at Edison Middle School in the Los Angeles Unified School District created a digital portfolio that reflects their work to amplify student voice & aspirations as a way of being across their campus.  Check out the link to explore a wide variety of evidence ranging from school level actions, to specific examples of how instruction is being impacted by their focus on instructional strategies that honor student voice.
 

 

Reseda High School Legacy Project

The Student Aspirations Advocates Program (SAAP) at Reseda High School is designed as an intensive 9th grade support system for students who have been identified as high risk and could benefit from an additional positive support system. The SAAP Mentorship program serves to provide each SAAP member with a role model and "go to" person on campus.

Click on the image to the left to download the PowerPoint presentation.
Click here for supporting document(s).

Northridge Academy High School Legacy Project

It is often said that the best gifts come in small packages. The sentiment expressed in that adage is one of the best ways to describe Northridge Academy High School. The school may be small, but what they exemplify in terms of habits of collaboration, interaction, and instruction as an extended family unit are truly gifts.

Click on the image to the left to download the PowerPoint presentation.
Click here for supporting document(s).

Lawrence Middle School Legacy Project

The Lawrence legacy project provides a summary of accomplishments that the school feels have been most important in guiding their course of action. Their true focus has not been on the accomplishments themselves, but rather on the lasting impact their actions will have on shaping the culture of Lawrence Middle School in years to come.

Click on the image to the left to download the PowerPoint presentation.
Click here for supporting document(s).

A student at Lawrence Middle School created this Student Voice World Cafe video to show their collaborative work with school data.

Castro Middle School Legacy Project

Aspirations Day is Castro's annual career exploration event. This all-school event takes place toward the end of the academic year and is designed to be a culmination of activities from throughout the year that were designed to help students develop a stronger sense of their values, personality traits, skills, and goals.

Click on the image to the left to download the PowerPoint presentation.
Click here for supporting document(s).

Mount Gleason Middle School Legacy Project

Mount Gleason established the Galloping Gatherings so that students could engage and share their voices with their peers. Making connections across grade levels has helped Mount Gleason students establish cross-age mentors who help younger students better prepare for school academically, socially, and emotionally.

Click on the image to the left to download the PowerPoint presentation.
Click here for supporting document(s).

Edison Middle School Legacy Project

Students at Edison can get the motivation and support they need to tackle any obstacle, be proud of their accomplishments, and establish a great sense of purpose that will last a lifetime. This PowerPoint presentation shows the myriad ways Edison Middle School is committed to creating a connected community and fostering student voice and aspirations.

Click on the image to the left to download the PowerPoint presentation.
Click here for supporting document(s).

Check out the activities at Thomas Edison Middle School's Eco Fair!

Sutter Middle School Legacy Project

Sutter Middle School created a Youth Empowerment Council (Y.E.C.) where two students from every advisory/homeroom class gather feedback from their classmates and bring the concerns and suggestions to a roundtable of representatives including teachers, support staff, and administrators.

Click on the image to the left to download the PowerPoint presentation.
Click here for supporting document(s).

This Sutter Middle School video showcases student voice in action! Students were asked to help the school decide which science textbooks to purchase.

Gompers Middle School Legacy Project

After identifying that 6th grade students were struggling with the transition to middle school, the 6th grade team of teachers spent four weeks working with students to help them develop the habits necessary to arrive at class ready and willing to learn. Their work is reflected in "The Impact and Power of Student Voice" slide show they created, which includes a video presenting students' perspectives on student/teacher relationships and what adults can do to improve those relationships.

Click here for supporting document(s).

View the collective celebration that students earned in the video created by the Gompers 6th grade department.

Chatsworth Charter High School Legacy Project

Chatsworth Charter High School is using their Legacy Project to:

  • Strengthen meaningful relationships between alumni and current students and staff.
  • Create a student-built library containing short videos to share Tips for Success with other students.
  • Develop an online Professional Corner for specific achievement goals.

Click on the image to the left to download the PowerPoint presentation.

Huntington Park High School Legacy Project

The School Engagement Task Force at Huntington Park High met biweekly to brainstorm school-wide initiatives that would increase student engagement. Adults and students worked together and conducted a World Café activity to analyze their Quaglia Student Voice data. Students provided recommendations that influenced actions taken over the course of the year.

Click on the image to the left to download the PowerPoint presentation.
Click here for supporting document(s).

Woodside High School

Woodside High School is committed to embedding student voice and aspirations into the fabric of their school so that it becomes a natural way of being! Read this winning graduation speech by Linnea Lyssand which incorporates all of QISA's 8 Conditions.
  • Watch this video from Woodside High School's Compass program. This program was created to support incoming 9th graders who have been identified as at-risk for dropping out. The video highlights Spirit of Adventure and shows students engaging in a number of Quaglia Institute activities.
  • Watch I Am Woodside to see the school of these Wildcats!
  • In this Curiosity & Creativity video, students discuss and demonstrate the importance of curiosity and creativity—in learning and in life.

Click here for supporting document(s) related to the Compass Program.

Peer Support Scenarios by Rivers Academy West London

Student leaders at Rivers Academy West London, an Aspirations Academy Trust school in the UK, created this video to raise awareness about the importance of effective peer support. This video includes "How To" and "How Not To" scenarios, as well "top tips" for being a supportive peer.

Student Voice: Gabriel, Redwood High School

In this student voice video, Gabriel shares his wisdom on belonging and how teachers can bring out students' unique talents to help them thrive. He articulates the importance of taking time to consider what it may be like to stand in someone else's shoes—of truly understanding and connecting with each other.

Student Voice: Steven, Somerville High School

In this student voice video, Steven shares his perspective on student voice and why it is essential to improving a school. He also talks about his experience with a teacher who promoted Self-Worth for everyone in her class and how that impacted students' investment in class and growth as individuals.

Student Voice: Lizeth, Redwood High School

In this student voice video, Lizeth talks about what inspired her to stop skipping school and become a more confident, motivated student. Her openness and insights reflect the importance of building trusting and respectful relationships between teachers and students.

Student Voice: Kellie, Somerville High School

In this student voice video, Kellie talks about why she loves her school and what it means to promote a sense of Belonging for all students. As a member of the Culture Committee, Kellie recognizes the importance of including others and working together to create a better school environment.

Student Voice: Vince, Redwood High School

In this student voice video, Vince reflects on a positive experience with a math teacher and offers his advice for how educators can show students that they care. Vince recognizes the importance is creating an environment where students feel comfortable in class and cared about as individuals.

Student Voice: Bethany and Noah

Redwood Environmental Academy of Leadership (REAL) students, Noah and Bethany, traveled to Thailand with their local Rotary Club to help set up drinking wells in two rural villages. In this interview, they share their amazing stories and the impact of this transformational experience.