The fourth and final day of the inaugural 2020 Ed100 Academy for California Student Leaders was all about priming students for action.
Learn More About the 2020 Ed100 Academy for California Student Leaders
The previous days of the conference focused on learning about the system. The purpose of this day, by contrast, was to help student leaders connect and get involved beyond the conference.
After a few brief remarks, Brenna, the student host of the event, directed the 450 participating students to a series of two zoom meetings with the organizations they had selected on Tuesday. Students were asked to complete the closing survey after these breakout meetings.
We had a very high response rate to this survey (over 50%), reflecting strong engagement in the conference through to the end. The charts that follow are based on that survey.
This was a serious conference. Some of the sessions were meant to inspire, but more of them were designed to inform. Many presentations were technical, based on the premise that student leaders (like parent leaders — or any leaders, for that matter) are in a better position to have influence and yield it well if they know their stuff. So we were eager for the results of the survey.
In the pre-conference survey, we asked students how well they felt they understood California's education system:
The closing survey confirmed that we shifted the curve:
Helping each student leader get informed individually was part of our goal, but in service of impact we also hoped that the conference would help build new connections among the participants. In this area, our results were more mixed:
Interpreting this survey question is a little difficult and we may have asked the wrong question. We made efforts to help students connect, especially through opt-in discussion groups (described in our wrap-up of Day One.) Responses to open-ended survey questions tended to validate that this is an area for improvement in next year's conference. Some discussion groups were very effective; others were less so. And of course students didn't connect at all if they didn't opt in to do so!
The Ed100 Student Academy was organized very quickly — in a period better measured in weeks than in months. With limited time to plan in the midst of very uncertain times, a few organizations were nevertheless willing to take the plunge, investing their scarce time and talent to work as partners in an unproven online-only event.
Based on feedback from these partners, there is room for optimism and also room for improvement.
"Participating in the Ed100 Academy dramatically improved our student networks across California," said Alvin Lee, founder of GENup. "It allowed us to champion and lead new initiatives that we previously did not think were possible. Students who joined our organization through the Ed100 Academy are leading ground-breaking initiatives in their local school districts and communities and beyond."
"The Ed100 conference gave us a platform to connect with more students who don’t know what we do," said Jayda Preyer of the Black Youth Leadership Project. "The students we met during the Ed100 programming were able to connect with us again through our first virtual event: BYLP’s Virtual Social Justice Bootcamp 2020."
"Many of the students that participated in the CSBMA breakout session decided to join our campaign to place a student on the governing board of their school district," said Zachary Patterson, founder of the California Student Board Members Association. "Those who attended the entire conference felt more educated and better prepared to take on the challenges that we face in the California education system."
Students: Apply now for the SABE conference, October 31 - November 2.
The California Association of Student Councils (CASC) hosts the Student Advisory Board of Education (SABE), an annual program for student leaders in high school or middle school. The conference has a decades-long track record of impact. If you attend it you will definitely meet both the current student member of the State Board of Education and the future one because the conference plays a role in the selection process. There is a cost to participate in SABE, but it is small and there is a scholarship program. Students who want to distinguish themselves as leaders should certainly apply for this important online conference. Worth noting: the founders of CSBMA and GENup are both alumni of the SABE program.
Getting the word out to student leaders in every school is really hard, and in 2020 we made a start on it. In 2021 we are determined to take this goal very seriously, so that every school is represented. We hope to work with partner organizations throughout the state to take a broad view of what it means to be a student leader in California's school system.
In 2020 we defined a vision for the Ed100 Academy: each and every high school in California should have informed student leaders.
We made strides toward this goal in 2020, and in 2021 we are determined to make it real. To get there, we are starting now.
We are now accepting early applications for the 2021 Ed100 Academy for High School Student Leaders, which will be held online June 21-23, 2021. By holding the conference at the very beginning of the summer break we hope to significantly expand California's student leadership talent pipeline.
Student leaders currently in grades 8 through 12 are invited to apply now for early admission. If you are accepted through the early application process you will be guaranteed admission to the conference free of charge. You will also qualify for free invitation-only events that will begin as soon as next month.
Momentum is important here. Please apply right away! Our small team of volunteer Outreach Ambassadors is excited to use the application process to help build connections among student leaders in ways that can make a difference.
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