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Oregon Student Voice is a nonprofit organization incorporated in 2018.

About

We are a youth-led nonprofit organization empowering all students to be active agents in shaping their K-12 education. We are run by students for students.

THE BASICS

Our Vision & Mission

Our vision is for all students to be authentic partners with other education stakeholders in making decisions that affect their K-12 learning experience and opportunities.


Our mission is to reframe Oregon’s understanding of the student’s role in their learning by empowering all students to be active agents in shaping their education.

What We do

We foster a space for students to express their voices, realize their individual and collective power, and lead change in Oregon’s K-12 education system. We provide students with the tools and support to partner with education stakeholders and develop innovative ways to ensure all students have equal opportunities and access to achieve their full potential.

Who joins

Participation is open to all Oregon students grades 6 through 12. No matter how you identify yourself or how others perceive you: we welcome you.

Our Core Values

Inclusivity

We are an inclusive community welcoming of all students regardless of their unique perspectives, feelings, race, ethnicity, geographic location, age, socioeconomic status, gender identity, sexual orientation, ability, affiliations, ideology, religious beliefs, and background.

Engagement

We activate student engagement in decision making. For us, a student is engaged in their formal education when they feel invested in their school and participate in the decisions that affect their lives and the lives of their peers.

Equity

We strive to attain equity and justice for all students in Oregon’s K-12 education system.

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Empowerment

We believe that all students should be equipped with the strength and confidence to partner with other education stakeholders in shaping their education. We encourage students to recognize their individual and collective power to positively impact our schools.

Respect

We revere each individual’s diverse experiences inside and outside of school, and recognize that everyone will be inclined to express their voice in a different way.

Innovation

We are a student-led organization dedicated to shifting how students participate in education decision making–one of the first of our kind in the United States.

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Outcomes

We believe that if all students possess leadership skills, strong communication, and a commitment to equity then together we can positively impact our schools and communities. We have identified 5 essential attributes we hope all students will acquire:

 

Civic Leader: someone who guides a group or organization by encouraging all members to discuss and freely participate in activities and decisions.

 

Change Agent: someone who works to improve their community by identifying a problem, building relationships, formulating a plan of action, and mobilizing others.

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Equity and Inclusivity Advocate: someone who ensures that all humans feel respected, accepted, and valued in their community.

 

Innovative Thinker: someone who analyzes information and looks beyond what is in front of them to develop a new and imaginative solution to an issue they or their community encounters.

Effective Communicator: someone who thoughtfully, clearly, and respectfully shares their ideas orally and in writing.

 

We measure progress toward these outcomes throughout our initiatives using qualitative and quantitative data.

oUR eQUITY sTATEMENT

We are committed to making meaningful progress toward equity and justice in Oregon’s K-12 education system. There are barriers and inequities systemically embedded in our schools that prevent students from having equal opportunities and access to achieve their full potential. We believe each individual has value and we actively try to understand, include, and empower all students regardless of their unique perspectives, feelings, race, ethnicity, geographic location, age, socioeconomic status, gender identity, sexual orientation, ability, affiliation, ideology, religious beliefs, and background.

 

Our Story

We believe that the primary purpose for U.S. public education is preparing and equipping all learners with the knowledge and skills to participate in society. However, the dominant culture of schooling over the past two centuries has evolved in a way that reinforces inequity and oppresses student voices. Students are often seen as objects of reform and their voices are absent from decisions that affect their lives and the lives of their peers.

 

Even when invited to participate in decisions, such as through student councils, school board representation, or district advisory committees, students are not provided with the power or opportunities to create meaningful change. This practice of excluding students from decision making has lead to a vast majority of Oregon students feeling disengaged from school, which contributes to high dropout rates.

In Summer 2016, a group of high school students came together to reframe our understanding of the student’s role in learning and create an alternative way to address Oregon’s most pressing education challenges. Over the past decade, adults have been striving to remove systemic education inequities and address low student engagement and dropout rates with limited success.

 

We assert that there is no bolder way to approach these concerns then equipping students to be authentic partners with other education stakeholders in decision making. We believe we can empower a new generation of students to be understanding and aware of the systemic barriers and inequities facing students and collectively alter Oregon’s education landscape.

 

This is the promise of student voice.

 

Meet Our Leadership Team

Meet our board of directors

Catch up on our major activities

Discover our plans for the future