The Student Voice Team at Dunbar
Dunbar's Student Voice Team members are motivated to share their insights from a student's perspective.
The Dunbar Student Voice Team learns more about how the school works, and what it looks like “behind the scenes” for teachers and administrators.
The work of the team is also connected to College and Career readiness standards because it follows the guidelines for student empowerment, leadership and independence.
This year there are 40 students on the team who represent a diverse community of learners. They are divided into focused teams called “squads” that work with teachers and administrators on different issues at the school.
Each squad is assigned to a school committee, and student representatives attend monthly meetings.
One of the squads focuses on Dunbar’s College and Career Readiness block held every Wednesday.
During one Dunbar Student Voice Team meeting, CCR squad members Nunu Vorkpor and Jenna McCauley, both sophomores, visited different classes and asked students and teachers about their suggestions for the curriculum and activities. They then compiled a list of ideas to share with the school’s CCR coordinator.
“Because CCR block is so new,” said McCauley, “we can help shape the curriculum so it’s something kids want to do.”
Another squad focuses on behavior strategies at Dunbar. The Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (PBIS) squad consists of students who are committed to helping to create a positive climate within the school. One of their primary focuses is reinforcing Dunbar’s PRIDE acronym which states the five broad expectations for behavior: positive, respectful, involved, dependable and excellent.
During a recent meeting, members of the PBIS squad approached teachers and students alike to see if they could recite the five words of the PRIDE acronym. They also delivered PRIDE bucks to teachers to award to their students for positive behavior.
“It’s important to hear from students what works best for us,” said senior Edith Cruz. “There are also cultural differences that we can share from our own experiences.”
The Dunbar Student Voice Team’s MTSS squad works with the Multi-Tier Support System committee to evaluate academic standards and techniques as well as effective approaches to teaching.
Students on the MTSS squad not only give feedback from a student perspective, they also learn a lot about what teachers do in their classrooms to engage students. For instance, two MTSS squad members attended a recent committee meeting with teachers and administrators in which the group discussed student empowerment.
Senior Mackenzie McConnell who works with this squad said, “It’s really an awesome experience to have the opportunity to be on the committee, and to see people who are responsible for my education really care about me as a student and want to help me in anyway possible.”
Dunbar’s Student Voice Team, which began in 2016 under the guidance of Mrs. Wendy Turner, meets during College and Career Readiness (CCR) blocks on Wednesdays.
Applications are available each August, and the students who are selected serve for one year.
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