Community Input into School Redesign
Students, parents, educators, partners and community members are all vital components to high school designs that will provide relevant, meaningful experiences and to contribute to the success of both the graduates and community. Community Input into School Redesign is designed to provide a variety of methods to support getting the community involved with input and planning for a high school redesign.
An engaged community process may use a variety of approaches to better understand community desires, values, beliefs and gather input.
Whether you are embarking upon your redesign journey, designing a half-day session to review and organize input with stakeholders, or a multiple-day Charette to engage in school designs, we believe you will find the guides and tools below useful.
A charrette is an intensive planning session where community members, designers and others collaborate on a vision for development. It provides a forum for ideas and offers the unique advantage of giving immediate feedback to the designers. More importantly, it allows everyone who participates to be a mutual author of the plan.
Multi-media resources available online and to download.
Charrettes (Design Sketching): ½ Inspiration, ½ Buy-In by Kara Pernice outlines how design charrettes inspire design sketches and ideas, include more people in the design process, explore and expose goals and objectives of colleagues in multiple functional roles, and drive off designer’s block. Read the Article Online
The Charrette Protocol is a two-page outline of the purpose of a charrette as well as the roles of the participants, how to use the protocol, the process, etc.
Download the Outline (PDF)
Treasure Coast Regional Planning Council published a brochure of the entire charrette planning process.
Download the Brochure (PDF)
Salvadori Center Video
Video: Salvadori Center
You can also watch this four-minute video and learn the process from the Salvadori Center in New York that takes 100 students through an all-day design challenge to redesign Time Square as a pedestrian mall with the help of professional engineers, architects, and designers. Watch the Video Online
Charrettes 101: Dynamic Planning for Community Change
This article describes the process of holding a charrette, a four- to seven-day planning event that assembles an interdisciplinary team of all stakeholders to design and plan a project together. During the course of the charrette, a team of planners, residents, business people, architects, environmental experts, policy makers, and others works together in brainstorming sessions and sketching workshops. Throughout the charrette, participants meet during scheduled sessions and work out specific planning problems. Around the clock, a head design team revises and updates the plans. The shortened time frame — a matter of days — creates pressure and energy. People passionately argue their points and generously share their knowledge and insights. By listening to participants debate the issues, everyone in the room learns more about the project’s complexity. Download the Article (PDF)
Follow 100 students from The Salvadori Center in New York through an all-day design challenge to redesign Time Square as a pedestrian mall with the help of professional engineers, architects, and designers.
This American Graduate video on school discipline produced by Nine Network features a town hall discussion with an audience of parents, teacher, students, and education experts about school discipline.
Resident-Driven Community Development
Through actively seeking the collective wisdom of all residents, including those whose voices are often missing, resident-driven community development brings people together to redesign stronger, healthier and more vibrant schools based on what matters most to everyone.
Multi-media resources available online and to download.
Orton Family Foundation offers a resource library of practical, helpful, and easy-to-use guidance for resident-driven and inclusive community development model developed by the and tested in partnership with small cities and towns over a decade. Visit their Website.
Engaging the Community in HS Redesign
Talking Points Sample
Working With the Media
Networks & Partnerships
Michele Cahill hosts Building Networks & Partnerships a discussion with experts on how to design educational experiences in collaboration with others. Featuring: Jeff McClellan Founding Principal of MC² STEM High School Cleveland, OH Stephanie Wu Senior Vice President of City Year Boston, MA Aaliyah Brown Graduate of MC² STEM High School Cleveland, OH.
The XQ Expert Series is a series of conversations with transformational educational leaders about how they are incorporating youth voice and working alongside students to create meaningful learning experiences. The series includes inspiring examples, stories, and lessons from across the country. Visit the XQ Super School website to learn more about the podcast series, learn more about the XQ Super Schools, and find valuable high school redesign tools and resources. Visit the XQ Super School Website.
Student Voice & Choice
Students entering high school have rarely experienced “voice and choice” in their previous schools. As a result, they can often be resistant to the concept, viewing it as a situation in which the adults do not know what they are doing or are abandonging their responsibility to educate. In order to help students begin to enjoy the power of their voice and choice, it’s helpful to establish routines and practices that scaffold student learning.
Next to educators, students spend the most time in school and have very definitive opinions about what they want to achieve from their education in and out of school. In this section we have resources to help engage student voice in high school redesign.
Respected: Perspectives of Youth on High School & Social and Emotional Learning
Respected: Perspectives of Youth on High School & Social and Emotional Learning While life outside of school can pose obstacles to learning, reconstructing what happens inside of school can offset learning barriers and instead enhance, accelerate, and broaden our success. The adults who teach and guide us—teachers, administrators, coaches, and counselors—should be organized to foster a warm, nurturing, and physically and emotionally safe environment that acknowledges and helps offset these obstacles.
Student and Youth Voice: Asking, Listening, and Taking Action
Student and Youth Voice: Asking, Listening, and Taking Action from WKCD.org who for more than 15 years, has reached far and wide to document and broadcast the voices and vision of the next generation. This wide-array of resources include questionnaires, surveys, and other valuable resources for obtaining student voice and choice.
Promoting Student Voice Throught Student Focus Groups (A Fishbowl Exercise)
Promoting Student Voice Throught Student Focus Groups (A Fishbowl Exercise) The student fishbowl focus group is a highly adaptable process that uses basic dialogue concepts and a simple structure to encourage students to express their opinion, ideas and concerns about their classrooms and school. The reversal of formal roles, where students speak and adults listen, makes a strong impression on students and adults alike.
This short video produced by the Nellie Mae Education Foundationdiscusses the importance of including student voice in all aspects of the education they are consuming. In this dynamic video students, teachers, and administrators share their views on making education more personal, relevant, and engaging.
Students’ Voices, Students’ Visions is a video produced by the Everyone Graduates Center. The 10-minute video captures 20 West-Baltimore high school students discussing school design, learning, school & the community, and business & wealth. It is an illuminating glimpse into how 21st Century high school students view their school experience, what they’d like to ultimately achieve from their high school experiences.
Quick Ways to Get Started
As part of needs assessment process, construct a short, online survey for students, parents, and community members asking their views on the what they see as the value and purpose of high school.
We offer a query data template used by Boston Public Schools and Mayors Cabinet that you can customize and use in a public forum to gather input from students, parents, and the community.
Study Circles provide another structure for seeking community feedback and action. A study circle is a group of 8 to 12 people who meet regularly over a period of weeks or months to address a critical public issue in a democratic, collaborative way. Participants examine the issue from many points of view and identify areas of common ground. They emerge with recommendations for action that will benefit the whole community.
- What Works: Study Circles in the Real World is a practical, short publication based on the Toward Competent Communities study of best practices in study circle programs. Click Here to View & Download the Report.
- Organizing Study Circles With Young People is a hands on guide for youth and adults, who are dedicated to finding ways for all kinds of people to engage in dialogue and problem solving on critical social and political issues. Click Here to View & Download the Guide.
- Calling the Roll: Study Circles for Better Schools the results of a two-year evaluation by the Southwest Educational Development Laboratory of statewide study circle programs that addressed education issues in Arkansas and Oklahoma. This study places special emphasis on the role of policymakers in study circles. Click Here to View & Download the Report.