Oftentimes, adults plan and discuss educational policy, but we rarely talk to the people who will be most directly affected by those plans and discussions: the students. To include student ideas and voices in state-level policies, I created the first-ever Superintendent's Student Advisory Board.
In its first year, forty students from thirty-one communities gathered to discuss ways to improve the state's graduation rate and to address school climate issues. Students reported they seek relevant coursework and real-world experiences, clear and consistent rules, a positive school climate and meaningful relationships at their schools. As a result of Student Advisory Board input, I launched an "I Pledge to Graduate" campaign to help students set their sights on graduation.