Following our first ONE by ONE: Student Voice event, we were inspired, challenged and motivated to continue to elevate student voices to inform the work of supporting a high quality public education system. Our children truly deserve to be heard.
Over 200 members of the Jacksonville community gathered Oct. 27 at the Johnson Family YMCA to hear three students present about the kinds of support they need to be successful and then later brainstorm with student participants to come up with actions the community can take to help support these students.
Sara Cameron, an IB Student at Paxon School for Advanced Studies spoke about the need for more time. Cameron encouraged the community to find a way to give students every opportunity to fully understand subjects, rather than being urged to move faster and meet artificial or unrealistic deadlines. She believes we should encourage students not to move on from a subject until they fully understand it, or perhaps find ways to provide other opportunities in a day so students can try again later.
Joshua McAfee, a junior at William M. Raines, spoke about the need to start classes later so students can be well rested to focus on the school day. McAfee is a Rainesmen, an avid scholar, dancer, singer, and fashion connoisseur who believes that schools should work to build a strong foundation of educational, physical and social skills in all students.
Deyona Burton is a student at Landon Middle School and a participant of the Journey to Womanhood. Burton said she feels most engaged with her classes when her teacher asked the class what they wanted to learn. The teacher asked the class for their opinions on current events and then explained the causes and reasons behind certain events. The teacher would never give his opinion, just ask the students for theirs and would elaborate on it, bringing in reasons to why it could be true or false. At the end of the day it was up to the class to decide.
These presentations were followed by rich dialogue between community members and student participants around how the community can support students as they uncover their own definitions of success.
Participants discussed more student involvement in the teaching of lessons, and it was agreed that students are more likely to relate to other students. They talked about the need to learn more career skills and less regular subjects that may not have an application in the workforce. Students also expressed the need for access to tools, such as tutoring or career resources, and information for how to access those tools.
We are starting to see some common themes throughout the city. JPEF staff and some Community Advisory members will analyze the notes collected from this event in greater detail with our data analysis team. Each action team, created after each of the events, will meet later and define the specific actions they would like to take to support a more comprehensive definition of student success.
If you missed this first event but would still like to contribute to this important community conversation, you are in luck! JPEF is hosting one more community gathering:
It will be held Jan 28 from 8:30 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. at the Nathan H. Wilson Center for the Performing Arts at FSCJ’s South Campus. Registration is available here.
We look forward to hearing your voice!