What Kids Can Do: Letting the Students Help You

If your school is serious about reaching hard to teach students, then it is important to listen to their voices as you try to meet their needs.

What Kids Can Do

What Kids Can Do, Inc. (WKCD) is a national not-for-profit organization founded in 2001 for the purpose of making public the voices and views of adolescents. On its website, WKCD documents young people's lives, learning, and work, and their partnerships with adults both in and out of school. WKCD also collaborates with students around the country on books, curricula, and research to expand current views of what constitutes challenging learning and achievement. What follows are some WKCD projects that relate to improving student/teacher relationships and the school climate.

School As Subject: Four Student Documentaries about School Equality, Redesign, and College Access

For the past several years, WKCD has supported student video projects as part of our Student Research for Action program. Two beliefs under gird this support. First, that young people have the capacity to reflect critically on the institutions and communities that touch their lives. And second, that video offers students an exceptional tool for asking their own questions, making their own observations, telling their own stories—and sharing them publicly. In the four films shown here, students turn their lens on a subject close at hand: school.

Students as Allies in Improving Their Schools

What if teachers and students became steady allies rather than frequent adversaries? What would it take for students to become stakeholders not just in their own success but also in that of their teachers and schools? With support from MetLife Foundation, What Kids Can Do (WKCD) has explored these questions for several years in an initiative called "Students as Allies." In Chicago, Houston, Oakland, Philadelphia, and St. Louis, WKCD has collaborated with teams of students and teachers organized by a local non-profit intermediary. The efforts in each city include several parts: helping students conduct survey research about their own schools, then supporting dialogue and constructive action around the research results, while nurturing youth leadership all along the way.
- First Ask, Then Listen: How to Get Your Students To Help You Teach Them Better - PDF
- Downloadable Reports & Tools
- What Makes School Worth Going To
- What Improves Student/Teacher Relationships
- The Change Process
- Key Findings from Students As Allies (0ct. 2004) - PDF