Ohio To Improve Schools Using Students’ Views and My Voice

01 November 2012

Pearson Foundation and Race to the Top Grants

Help Educators Better Understand Conditions for Student Success

COLUMBUS – Results from a new survey of Ohio school students and teachers will help school districts improve their educational environments.

The Ohio Department of Education, the Pearson Foundation and the Quaglia Institute for Student Aspirations (QISA) recently released a report summarizing the responses of nearly 54,000 students and approximately 2,700 teachers and other staff members.

“One of the best tools that an educator can utilize to facilitate a better learning environment is the art of listening to student and teacher feedback,” said Acting Superintendent of Public Instruction Michael Sawyers. “Many of the challenges facing our schools happen outside of the classroom and make a huge impact on a student’s ability to learn.”

The Ohio My Voice Initiative is the largest state-led initiative to track and analyze student engagement and to highlight its connection to progress in academic performance. Made possible by a grant from the Pearson Foundation and funding from Ohio’s Race to the Top (RttT) federal grant award, My Voiceeventually will engage more than one million Ohio students in grades 6-12.

The survey was completed by students in RttT schools in districts across the state, including Ada Exempted Village School District, Akron Public School District, Dayton Early College Academy, Maysville Local School District, Northmont City School District, and South Euclid-Lyndhurst City School District as well as other schools throughout the state. My Voice is available at no cost to all schools in Ohio, including non-RttT schools, private and parochial schools.

My Voice helps students articulate their school-inspired sense of self-worth, engagement, and purpose. The results of this initiative will provide educators and administrators with detailed student data, which will be used to improve teaching and learning. In partnership, the Ohio Department of Education, the Pearson Foundation, and the Quaglia Institute are training Ohio educators to use the results to improve learning outcomes through a series of workshops, professional development, and other supporting programs that tie to QISA’s “8 Conditions That Make a Difference” in a student’s life.

Student responses will be part of the Pearson Foundation’s Million Voice Project, the national public interest campaign intended to gauge students’ perceptions of school across the United States. This approach to understanding school by using ‘student voice’ is part of a broadening national movement that has been supported by teacher and administrator organizations such as the American Association of School Administrators, the Council of Chief State School Officers, National Association of Secondary School Principals, National Catholic Educational Association, National Education Association and the National School Board Association.

“We know that our students’ success begins with them knowing they are valued and respected,” said Larry W. Petry, Jr., principal, Firestone High School. “The My Voice survey was a starting point for us to understand how our students felt. We discovered there was some work to be done around relationships between faculty and students. As a result of what we learned, we are implementing a freshman mentoring program where a new student is paired with a faculty member. We want our students to succeed and give them the resources to do so.”

“The student voice is essential for academic achievement,” said Pearson Foundation President and CEO Mark Nieker. “Education is all about the students – helping them to achieve in and outside school and be confident, responsible members of society. We must ensure that each and every student has the opportunity to achieve and reach his or her full potential.”

“We are grateful for the opportunity to support Ohio schools as they deepen their ability to listen and respond to student voice,” said QISA President and Founder Dr. Russell J. Quaglia.

To learn more about the Ohio My Voice Initiative, review the Annual Report and register for the survey visit http://myvoice.pearsonfoundation.org/ohio.

Media Contacts:

John Charlton
Department of Education
(614) 728-5959 or (614) 307-8512

Stacey Finkel
Pearson Foundation
stacey.finkel@pearsonfoundation.org
(703) 304-1377