Article: Lorain City Schools students dream of education innovation during Changemaker Hub

Lorain City Schools students dream of education innovation during Changemaker Hub

student looks at post-it notes on white board with woman looking over his shoulder in background.Thursday, February 22, 2024 | If you want to know how to make school a more enjoyable, enriching, and engaging place for students, there is no better source to tap into than the students themselves.
That was the idea on Thursday, February 22, 2024, when 45 Lorain City Schools middle and high school students seized the reins of education innovation during a Changemaker Hub at Lorain County Community College. There, students, teachers, and community members teamed up to tackle a big question: How can we make school better for everyone?
Students shared their stories and ideas through activities and discussions while learning new things.
"I enjoyed the chance to meet other students who made me feel heard," Longfellow Middle School eighth-grader Bryanna Torres said in her reflections about the day. "Knowing others have the same thoughts as me makes me feel less alone. I like that the trip helped brainstorm how change can actually happen. I hope the adults take what was said seriously and help to make a difference for students like me and future generations."
Changemaker Hubs are day-long experiences that energize students, educators, school leaders, and community members to ponder how we can revolutionize education to ensure every young person thrives in a complex, interconnected world. While students brainstormed, teachers and leaders learned, too. They dug into topics like what skills students need for the future and how to make learning more exciting. One highlight was the conversations between adults and students. Together, they explored what makes a great employee, how schools can adapt to the changing world, and what it feels like to be in school today.
"The field trip was a nice experience for me, and it was nice to meet others, and definitely the food was amazing," shared Aiden McLeod, a 7th-grade student from Longfellow Middle School. "I like that they made that for us to discuss things and things for schools. The important thing was to learn new things. I hope I can do it all again."
For the adults in the room, the experience was eye-opening and enlightening as students offered unfiltered commentary on their home away from home. What filtered out was the stress school unknowingly puts on students, its impacts on mental health, and how students love their friendships with their peers but say they lack adults they can trust.

"We were able to say a lot of the things we don't talk about," said Lorain High School freshman Antwan Palos. "This is a good experience for us students."
"I was nervous to express myself, but our school counselor really helped prepare us for what type of things we could say about the changes we need to make school a better place, shared 8th-grade student Felicity Zadoranzy, also from Longfellow. "I think that the event was better than expected, and I really liked meeting new students in the area. The food was great, too, and I am happy I was chosen to come to this. I know the information we shared as students can make some big changes for the future of our education."

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