Energy Convertors Rising: A Call to Action for Education and Community Leaders

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Energy Convertors is an Oakland-based boutique organization focused on improving public education by utilizing the authentic voices of students. So far, the student fellows have published over 40 original pieces and the reception has been great. However, rather than just having people read and repost our published articles, we want leaders to take action. Our 15 fellows are presenting real issues they face daily and it is our hope that leaders rally around these articles. We are looking for education and community leaders to partner with us to address these issues head on in partnership with our student leaders.

Our work has been split into three phases. Phase 1 is displaying our fellows’ authentic voice. You can see some of that work below. The fellows wrote about their experiences which is often quite intimate and revealing into the student experience of education today. Phase 2 is the research phase. This is where our fellows learn more about the broader education themes that naturally arose through their writing. The fellows go beyond feelings and emotion and work to become experts on the topics that have trended from their writing. For instance, this is where a student writing about interactions with a teacher learns about teacher quality through research. Finally, Phase 3 is where each fellow begins to lead change on their own. They take their authentic experience, coupled with their research and make an impact that spans across hundreds of students.

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Here’s the call to action for all of you amazing education and community leaders. We ask that you take up a few of the issues that these fellows have raised and directly address it. Respond in a blog or video. Bring it up in your staff meetings. Present them at your community forums. Education is the one industry that does not obsess over how the end-user (in this case, the student) is responding to the product. We don’t need to speculate on the experience of students when the Energy Convertors Fellows are pouring their experiences out to you directly. These fellows don’t want a pat on the head, they want you to use all of your smarts to alleviate the issues they’ve brought to your attention and if you can’t fix it, then at least support them with the resources and access to spark the change on their own. 

Our goal for the next school year (2018-19) is to more than double the fellowship and build out stipended partnerships with teachers to help us expand our reach with students. 

Our fellows have covered a variety of topics including:

Teacher Quality

I want to Learn, Not Just Memorize

The Goal for my Education isn’t to be Well-Behaved

Adult-Made Chaos in my School

Mental Health

I Can Still See it

The Memories make me Black Out

Just Trying to Figure it Out

Student Engagement & Motivations

A Message to Parents from a Student doing her Best

My Mother Fuels My Passion for Equity

Gentrification

A Student’s Take on Gentrification

Women’s Rights in School and Beyond

Let Girls Learn

Womanhood and High School

Reflections of a Muslim Girl Growing Up in Oakland Unified

LGBTQ Issues

My Experience as a Trans Student

The Prolonged Process of Coming Out as Nonbinary at School

The Internal Toll of Being Misgendered

Student Home & Community Life

Where are the Lights?

Don’t Forget to Dream

General Equity Issues

America Allows its Islamaphobia to Control their Perception on Muslims

America: Land of the Thieves, Home of the Slaves

To get involved directly, please email me at charles@energyconvertors.org. 

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This article was first posted on Huffington Post