A few notes and observations on how we created this collection and how you can participate…
In the summer of 2006, CES National circulated a call for submissions for “Students as Writers” widely throughout the CES network. We sent email to all affiliated schools, included an announcement of the project in the E*ssential News blast (our electronic newsletter) and posted the call for submissions on the Essential Blog. We also asked students who participated in the CES Summer Institute to send contributions.
The call for submissions, which we asked teachers and school leaders to distribute to everyone in their schools, covered what to write, how to write, when to write, and additional information. We asked for students to submit writing if they:
- feel passionately about the role of student leadership in education
- know how young people can be full participants in the plans for and process of education
- identify as activists for excellent schools for themselves and for all students
- create and sustain the curriculum, governance, operations or other aspects of their schools
- participate in school design through new school or conversion planning teams
- take the lead in creating the education that best suits them
We also circulated a rubric that we designed to assess writing that students submitted to the issue in five categories:
- voice (was the writer’s unique voice and perspective evident?)
- understanding of CES and the Common Principles
- description of educational activism (did the writer provide specific evidence about the actions s/he took?)
- language usage
- artwork (did the writer provide a photo or other visual art to illustrate her/his article?)
We received a wide range of entries by the mid-September deadline and selected the essays included here for a three-week round of revisions. Jill Davidson, Horace editor, edited the essays, exchanging two, three and sometimes even four drafts with students. The results of the writers’ hard work are what you have read here.
Other essays came in that we didn’t select to include in these pages. In some cases, several students at a school submitted essays, and we chose to include only one essay per school. In other cases, students needed more time than the three weeks available for revision. And in yet other cases, students from schools that aren’t CES schools submitted work. We are grateful for all submissions and are working with these students to get their writing ready to be included in the online version of this issue of Horace when it is posted in 2007.
And we’re still looking for submissions! Through December 31, 2006, we will accept additional contributions for the online version of “Students as Writers.” Please contact Horace editor Jill Davidson at firstname.lastname@example.org for the full call for submissions and assessment rubric.
As we said in this issue’s introduction, without students’ full participation, we can’t transform schools for all children to learn in personalized, equitable and challenging ways. And we know it’s our job to create the space for that participation. We’re grateful to all of the students, those whose words appear hear and those who you will read online, who chose to move into that space with their words and ideas, and we hope that you are so moved. We look forward to reading what you have to say about how students can and must be active in the process of their own—and everyone’s—education.