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.
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:
I want to Learn, Not Just Memorize
The Goal for my Education isn’t to be Well-Behaved
Adult-Made Chaos in my School
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
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
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
This article was first posted on Huffington Post.