PROVIDENCE, R.I. – High school students in two school districts say educators threaten to suspend them for minor disciplinary matters, according to a student survey of more than 1,800 youth.
Principal Michaela Keegan says:“I was skeptical of transitioning to the use of restorative practices, because I didn’t know much about it. However, the students gently persisted and always supported their wish to use restorative practices with evidence, data and student voice. They helped me be more confident in exploring this unknown but obviously needed approach to building community.” Read More
As an immigrant from the Dominican Republic, immigration is a topic that hits close to home. Last year, I created an independent study project around the issue of DREAMers, young people who are undocumented. Through this class, we conducted research with administration , institutions and DREAMers themselves. I was honored to be able to interview them. I learned so much through their stories, filled with suffering, darkness, pain, tears, smiles, laughter, faith, love and resilience. We also studied what institutions are doing to create an environment of inclusivity for undocumented students. Read more
For more than 4 years, Young Voices has been supporting students at 4 of RI’s lowest-performing high schools to improve their attendance and graduation rates. Our youth surveyed thousands of their peers, asking them what could be done to improve attendance rates, and their message was loud and clear: there needs to be a massive shift in school climate, and the ending of punitive, unfair discipline practices. Read More
Across this country, youth are experiencing extreme hopelessness-drop-out, discrimination, poverty, lack of opportunity. But in Rhode Island, youth from Young Voices are doing something about it.
Three years ago, our youth surveyed thousands of fellow students in Providence, asking what could be done to raise graduation and attendance rates. The message from their peers was loud and clear: there is a serious issue with the way discipline is handled in our schools. A recent report from the ACLU backs them up: “A decade’s worth of statistics have unequivocally demonstrated that racial disparities in suspension rates are pervasive” and there is a need to “take critical steps toward minimizing the use of out of school suspensions in favor of a system that keeps students in school, and away from the school-to-prison pipeline.” Read more
“Young Voices was crucial to my development as a critical thinker and a professional. Young Voices was the place where I learned to look at systematic issues that affect me and know that I can play a role in changing them and have a voice. Young Voices taught me skills such as personal and non-profit fundraising, public speaking, advocacy and grass-roots organizing. I have carried the skills that Young Voices taught me beyond high school, through college and am now taking them into graduate school as I begin a PhD program at UT Austin. Young Voices taught me that I can be a beacon of positive change in whatever matters most to me and I have held on to that wholeheartedly. Because of the investment Young Voices made in me, I can now invest in my own passions wherever I go.” Read more
Students from the PYC-a new coalition of Providence’s strongest youth organizations (Hope High Optimized, New Urban Arts, Providence Student Union, Rhode Island Urban Debate League, Young Voices, Youth In Action, Youth Pride, Inc. and YouthBuild) met Tuesday with Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza to promote the goals outlined in their youth-written education platform “The Schools Providence Students Deserve”. Read more
On March 27th, our youth presented to more than 700 educators at the New England Secondary Schools Consortium! They spoke about how they partner with their principals to improve low-performing high schools. Read more
Young Voices and the Providence Student Union, in partnership with six of Providence’s strongest youth organizations, launched the Providence Youth Caucus (PYC) in January. This coalition unites students from across Providence to work together for citywide education changes like restorative practices and personalized learning. The effort, supported by the Nellie Mae Education Foundation, includes diverse youth from Hope High Optimized (H2O), New Urban Arts, Rhode Island Urban Debate League, Youth in Action, YouthBuild Providence, and Youth Pride, Inc.
The PYC, along with youth groups from across the state, met with Governor Raimondo on March 24 th . Read more
These punitive disciplinary practices have a very negative effect on school culture, which is really a problem since having a positive school culture has been shown to be a factor in having students actually attend school.