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Prichard Committee Student Voice Team

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Prichard Committee Student Voice Team

The student voice team including Ben Weathers in the top middle.

The student voice team including Ben Weathers in the top middle.

Rachel Belin

The student voice team including Ben Weathers in the top middle.

Rachel Belin

Rachel Belin

The student voice team including Ben Weathers in the top middle.

Hena Kachroo, Staff Writer

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The Student Voice Team is a team of self-selected middle school through college students working with the Prichard Committee for Academic Excellence. This team works to promote the voices of youth in Kentucky to help impact educational issues as well as support students to have a say in improving schools. They look for opportunities to work with students and adult leaders to create ways to share their perspectives on educational issues. This includes: testifying before the Joint Legislative Educational Committee about how students can contribute to the teacher evaluation feedback loop, publishing commentaries in local and national news media outlets on education policy issues, and leading investigations into policies that prevent smooth transitions into college.

They believe students are a resource not commonly used when it comes to improving schools. Many students have the expertise to give feedback about schools after spending so many hours there. Rachel Belin, the director of the Student Voice Team, said “The Prichard Student Voice Team supports students, as the primary stakeholders in our schools, to contribute to the efforts to make them the best they can possibly be. Our work honors that young people are not just the future but that they are very much a part of the present. The Student Voice Team recognizes that students can be more than just consumers of public education; in the best circumstances, they can and should be co-creators of it too”.

Some of their achievements include publishing a book, writing and publishing over 60 op-eds, presenting over 130 times locally and nationally, and being featured in newspapers and magazines such as the New York Times and the Washington Post. They have also recently won a grant for 100,000 dollars for an Innovation Award addressing the authentic engagement of students as partners in education policymaking.

Four students from Lafayette serve on the Student Voice Team this year: Ashley Barnette, Valerie Newberg, Ben Weathers, and Cilia Ziliak.

For more information about the student voice team, you can contact Rachel Belin, the director, at [email protected] or (859)-233-8949. You can also go to their website http://prichardcommittee.org/our-initiatives/student-voice-team-fact-sheet/.

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