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Kristina chats with Rick Jetter, co-author of the book, Let Them Speak!, and co-founder of Pushing Boundaries about student voice, one of the “new,” “cool” terms in education. Student voice isn’t really “new,” and shouldn’t be viewed as just a “cool” buzzword, he notes. Really, Jetter says, student voice is about partnerships with students and asking them what they think about lessons, programs, or initiatives. Jetter has been collecting student narratives for years, and these narratives have become a pathway for really hearing student voices. When shared with boards of education, for example, it can lead to real-world changes in education policy, such as with anti-bullying programs. Pendergast in Arizona had created a true student discourse, and it’s making a real difference, he says. Educators work with staff all the time, so why don’t we also bring in students when making decisions, he asks, adding that such inclusion “is not treason.” The bottom line, he says, is that student voice activates happiness, which, in turn, can result in education excellence. Jetter’s final piece of advice: Activate student voice by doing one thing tomorrow to create a better partnership with kids, and don’t postpone because the calendar says “wait.” This episode was sponsored by NWEA, www.nwea.org and Better Lesson, https://betterlesson.com.

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