In order to ensure that young people are motivated and prepared to address institutional challenges in their communities after high school, students need regular practice solving real problems in their learning communities during high school.

Our Rubric

A year after naming ourselves the Student Voice Collaborative, we had to ask ourselves: What does "student voice" really mean anyway?

And so, SVC members took a step back and spent an entire school year conducting in-depth research in pursuit of answers to this important question.  The process included 5 phases -- each dedicated to collecting experiences and ideas from a different perspective: SVC members (journal entries), classmates (interviews), teachers (surveys), researchers (literature and interviews), and Quality Review Student Shadows (school visit observations).  In the end, we used the data we gathered to create our very own Student Voice Rubric.

View SVC's Student Voice Rubric

SVC's Student Voice Rubric is a product of consolidating a range of shared values into a set of essential big ideas.  It outlines 6 areas (places where student voice can and should be found) and 17 elements (components that can and should all be found in each area) with descriptive indicators for each element to help observers recognize them.  The rubric is intended to serve as an educational resource for students, teachers, principals, and school reviewers -- introducing a common and practical understanding of student voice -- as well as an instrument to support collaborative school assessment and improvement.

Every fall, SVC members use our rubric to conduct "Student Voice School Reviews" at their own schools in an effort to discover where and to what degree they have student voice.  This helps students figure out where there's work that needs to be done. Ultimately, we believe that by strengthening student voice around any challenge, we can spark profound and observable results.  

We encourage you -- students, teachers, and school and district leaders -- to put our rubric to practice, modify it to meet your needs, use it creatively, and share how it goes!

​Our Model

Every year, SVC members conduct comprehensive research at their schools, identify relevant challenges, and design and implement innovative and targeted school improvement campaigns in partnership with staff and students.  The work begins with forming an "Action Team" of student and staff leaders that crafts a common agenda and meets regularly to roll out plans and monitor developments.  We call our approach to collaborative school improvement the "Launch and Orbit" model, where Action Teams get an exciting campaign off the ground and keep it moving.

Some Campaign Summaries

Below are some examples of collaborative school improvement campaigns that SVC schools have conducted over the years:


A Report on SVC Campaigns in Year One


Peer Mentoring (Landmark High School)

Transfer Student Welcoming Committee (James Baldwin School)

School Newspaper (Flushing International High School)

Student of the Month (Brooklyn Frontiers High School)

10-Minute Advisory Exchange (Baruch College Campus High School)

Classroom Parking Lots (School for Tourism and Hospitality) 


Color War (Baruch College Campus High School)

Personal Interest Project Class (Flushing International High School)

Advisory/Study Hall Advocacy (School for International Studies)

Recognition Program (Landmark High School)

Peer Mentoring Program (Murray Hill Academy)

Restoring Respect (Academy for Young Writers)