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BURLINGTON, VERMONT-UP for Learning was honored to host the third International Seminar on Amplifying Student Voice and Partnership on June 26-28, 2018. Over 60 invited participants gathered at UVM, to explore their common belief that elevating the role of young people in their learning and in the school redesign process is essential to the future of education. The seminar brought together youth and adults representing the fields of youth activism, research, policy, teacher preparation, educational leadership, funding, and organizations working for educational transformation.

Featured speakers included Jemar Lee, a student advocate for learner-centered education from the Iowa BIG school; Roger Holdsworth, an educator and writer from Melbourne, Australia; and Sam Chaltain, an organizational consultant and partner at 180 Studio, a global design collaborative. In keeping with the conference theme, high school and college youth were full participants, co-facilitating the conference, sharing their stories and their work, and contributing to the rich dialogue.

Clara Lew-Smith, a recent graduate from Hazen Union and the co-facilitator of the conference, stated: Even though students are the primary recipients and focus of education, it is rare that we get let into a space where we can talk about it and its purpose at a higher level.

Marc Fernandes, a youth development consultant in New York City, agreed: It is not often youth, teachers, school administrators, community practitioners and higher educators come together to honestly confront issues of power and participation in education. This international seminar has successfully managed to bring all of these voices to the center to re-envision a holistic framework of what it means to be educated and a lifelong learner. Through youth-adult partnership practice true representation and equity can be achieved within our educational systems.

Levi Brooks, a student from Colorado’s Eagle Rock School, concluded one session by declaring: I just want to say that I love everyone here everyone here has really helped me and made me feel like I was at home.

For more information on the power of amplifying student voice and partnership please contact Michelle Maseroni at [email protected].