Working to integrate students as partners to improve Kentucky schools.

The Prichard Committee Student Voice Team consist of approximately 100 self-selected students, elementary school though college, from across the Commonwealth who work together to integrate students as partners .

We use the tools of civic engagement to elevate the voices of young people in education research and policy-making. We conduct surveys and roundtables; we create and deliver workshops; we make speeches and presentations; we testify; we publish informed opinion pieces; we issue policy reports, create press events, harness social media (follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) and more!

Following are our four current major initiatives.


In 2016, after a year’s worth of research and an original survey of Kentucky’s principals and superintendents, the Student Voice Team released Students as Partners, a policy report detailing the state of student voice in existing school governance bodies.

The work continues to prompt inquiries from students, educators, and education advocates as we continue our statewide Listening Tour to disseminate our research and recommendations about integrating students into more meaningful school decision-making roles and nurture and track local success stories.

School Governance Committee Chair: Zach Sippy


Our 2015 College Tripwires investigation into hidden barriers that make the transition from high school to college so difficult for too many Kentucky students continues to drive a range of activities.  After delivering over 50 local and national presentations on this work, our team of student investigators is now embarking on the second phase of research, an undertaking that has us surveying and interviewing hundreds of Kentucky high school seniors and undergraduates to define college readiness from a student perspective, with a special focus on how the ACT fares as a predictor of college success.

In partnership with Gear Up Kentucky and to generate qualitative feedback, our Postsecondary Committee has designed a “Getting Real About Readiness” tour and has so far brought it to several targeted school districts.  Among other things, we aim to document compelling student stories that bring policy data related to college readiness to life and ensures that policymakers better understand the lives of those their policies most impact in real time.

Postsecondary Committee Chair: Sahar Zadeh


Research shows that student success in school, especially for those who feel marginalized there, can hinge on their engagement and sense of agency and autonomy. Creating an awareness about whether and how students can develop more ownership around their learning environment is an important step toward incorporating this conversation into the culture of the broader education system.

In partnership with Panorama, a student-founded tech firm that specializes in school survey work, we are putting the power of school climate data and analysis into the hands of students themselves.

Targeting a set of schools that represents the geographic and demographic diversity of the state, this spring we will be supporting students in a variety of Kentucky school districts to produce a rigorous study about just what students are experiencing related to school climate and culture with an emphasis beyond individual classrooms. We are hoping that our student-driven audits serve as a model for students in other schools to play a more meaningful role in school climate improvement.

School Climate Committee Co-Chairs: Madison Ortega and Chaze Vinci


The Student Voice Team’s digital forum offers a space for student thought and feedback on a range of education issues.  By employing a user-friendly blog format, reaching out to youth-serving organizations and individuals for submissions, and by promoting posts across multiple social media platforms, we seek to make the site especially accessible even to those who have never before written an article.

The primary role of the Student Voice Team’s Forum Editorial Board is to foster and moderate informed dialogue about the student experience and support young people to contribute to broader discussions about the way they are educated. We publish all material with the full disclosure that content is independent and does not represent the opinion of either the Student Voice Team or the Prichard Committee.

Forum Editorial Board Editor-in-Chief: Eliza Jane Schaeffer


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