Student voice empowers and encourages the expression of thoughts, ideas, and opinions to create positive change within an educational community. During the 2022-2023 academic year, Achievement House Cyber Charter School has proactively tried to involve students in school-wide programs and decisions by creating a “Student Voice” group.
AHCCS’s “Student Voice” meets and participates in school projects to provide valuable input in administration decisions for the benefit of all AHCCS students. The current nine Student Voice members from grades 7th-12th are overseen by AHCCS Social Studies teacher, Mr. Doug DeSimone.
When asked how he would describe this important student organization, Mr. DeSimone said, “The Student Voice is the voice of the students who attend Achievement House Cyber Charter School. We have outlets for all students to use to get in contact with members of the Student Voice group so that they can voice any issues or concerns.”
The group is similar to a traditional student government board, but their sole purpose is to be the entity that communicates their peer’s thoughts and feelings to school leaders. Student Voice members along with AHCCS staff have been meeting about upcoming school-sponsored events. The group’s members have played an integral role in choosing event activities that all students would enjoy. For example, some members have participated in the planning meetings for Achievement House’s April 2023 Mosaic Community Service events. Their insight has aided ACHSS staff in effectively planning activities that appeal to all students and to develop a valuable promotion strategy. Student Voice members have also played an active role in communicating and marketing the details of each Mosaic Community Service event.
Student Voice strives to provide a communication link between students and staff. To help bridge the gap, the Student Voice additionally holds “Lunch Time” meetings with administration where students can come and express their concerns or ideas directly to school leaders. AHCCS staff leaders can then utilize feedback directly from current students to plan engaging events and activities.
At present there is a student elected President and Vice President of the Student Voice group. Student Voice President, Khalil Cottman works with the other members of the group to create ideas for Khalil to endorse and communicate to school leaders.
When asked how he enjoys his leadership role, Khalil Cottman stated, “Being Student Voice President has been fun. I have been able to meet different groups of people including our school’s Dean, Principal, Student Ambassadors, and the School Board.”
Even though Khalil was voted as the leader of this group, he explained that Student Voice members truly work as a team in the creation of ideas that are shared with the school administration. AHCCS students and current members of the Student Voice, Ruby Khan and Alexander Cape, really enjoy being a part of Student Voice.
When asked why he wanted to join Student Voice Alexander explained, “I really wanted to provide feedback. I feel like I can give an important perspective to this school and if I can help in any way, then I should.”
Similar to Alexander, fellow member, Ruby, joined Student Voice because they wanted to be more involved within the school and work with other students. Ruby feels that it is important for AHCCS to have a Student Voice group.
They said, “It is great that our school has a group of students that it can depend on and go to for advice. It is impactful because the group ensures that all students do have a voice. We can create change and ensure that AHCCS is a comfortable place for everybody.”
In the future, Mr. DeSimone, Khalil, Alexander, and Ruby agree that they would love to see the Student Voice group expand and become a part of more school activities and programs.
As stated by Mr. DeSimone, “The two most important things for the future are for Student Voice to continue to be the contact between administration and students and continue to grow.”