Donovan Group Insights

Your Students Have a Voice, Too

Students are the reason your district exists. Without them, who is there to educate? Students are a critical part of your school community, yet when you need to make important decisions, they might be an overlooked stakeholder group.

Your students have a voice. Give them room to speak!

Students are critical stakeholders

There are many different stakeholder groups in your community—parents, teachers, staff, alumni, administrators and civic groups, just to name a few. School leaders and their teams are always thinking of ways to connect with these stakeholders. Communicating with every group is important, yet the most important group of all is often overlooked: the students.

Connecting with your students is critical. Everything you do—every decision, meeting, open house and professional development course—is for the students, above everyone else. Your district exists to serve the students. Create opportunities for them to speak up and make their voices heard.

Put your students’ needs first

Your words and actions affect stakeholder groups in different ways. Before you make a decision, there are many questions you have to answer first. How will stakeholders react? Will this benefit some people more than others? Does this decision satisfy each group’s particular needs?

When answering these questions, students should remain at the forefront of your mind. Again, everything you do is for the students. Their wants, needs and concerns should always come first. To find out what those wants, needs and concerns are, you have to connect with the students.

Find ways to connect with students

A school leader can’t decide what’s best for the students without talking to the students themselves. Regular check-ins with students should be a part of your district’s ongoing communication efforts. That way, you have a better understanding of what they need and can make decisions accordingly.

Take a look at your communications toolkit, and identify several ways to connect with your students. You could hold a focus group or ask students to fill out a survey about their school experiences. Even a quick poll on social media can help you gauge how students feel about certain ideas, solutions or initiatives.

The stakeholder group that’s often overlooked is arguably the most important one of all. If you give students room to speak, you’ll find that they have a powerful voice. Your students’ opinions and needs should always be front of mind, as everything you do exists to benefit them.

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