by Emma Kapp
Hope never gets old. We love these three powerful reminders from superintendents who lead with hope.
Now, more than ever before, we must
intentionally cultivate hope in our students and staff. At the 2021 Ohio School Boards Association’s (OSBA) Capital Conference, three
superintendents joined Battelle for Kids’ Jamie Meade to discuss the
importance of measuring and responding to student voice to foster this
essential mindset and skill in their students’ 21st century learning
There is no question that education leaders
have had to navigate many challenges. And despite the day-to-day
demands this pandemic presents, visionary superintendents all agree that
now is a critical time to check in on students and lead with hope.
Here are three insightful perspectives that hopeful visionary leaders share:
1. Hope always matters.
Leading with hope is a
difference-maker in districts. When superintendents prioritize hope,
they can cultivate it in staff, students, and the broader community.
Modeling hope builds positive momentum for the future and inspires
everyone connected to a school community.
“Hope is the vehicle
for helping educators change outcomes for students. It fuels our work
and brings our vision to life,” said Dr. Danielle Prohaska,
superintendent of Mechanicsburg Exempted Village Schools. “If we
continue to invest in the wellbeing of our students intentionally, we
can have an enormous impact.”
2. It’s essential to check in with and listen to our students.
Now, more than ever, listening to student voice is essential.
When educators have the tools and strategies to respond to what students
share about their learning experiences, they can make a lasting impact.
“The pandemic presented many challenges for our students, and
we needed to hear how they were doing,” said Dr. Tom Bailey,
superintendent of Washington Court House Local Schools. “When we listen
to students, we can start to build stronger relationships with them.”
3. Student voice and a vision for a better tomorrow are crucial when implementing a Portrait of a Graduate.
A vision of 21st century learning—a Portrait of a Graduate—articulates
a collective vision for all students in an education system. With input
from stakeholders, including students, a Portrait gives district
leaders a North Star for system transformation to create learning
experiences that intentionally cultivate the skills, mindsets, and
literacies for students to become lifelong learners and contributors in
the 21st century.
“We’ve changed our schedule to allow for more
intentional relationship building between students and educators,” said
Dr. Dave Hire, superintendent of Coshocton City Schools. “This time
helps our students develop the competencies we’ve outlined in our
Portrait of a Graduate.”
How did these superintendents help their educators elevate and respond to student voice?
They participated in a unique research study of
TheStudentExperience21 (TSE21), a suite of tools designed to help
measure hope, engagement, and belonging in 21st century learning
experiences. TSE21 includes a 24-item student perception survey and the
field study collected from more than 15,000 students across 11 Ohio
school systems during the pandemic.
Battelle for Kids partnered with the Center for Research and Reform in Education from Johns Hopkins University to evaluate the field study of TSE21 suite of tools.
- Overall survey analyses showed that students expressed high levels of agreement with all TSE21 survey items.
findings were consistent for all four subscales, and across school
levels, content areas, and instructional modes (e.g., in-person, hybrid,
- Overall survey scores showed very strong
reliability, with observed reliability for the entire survey, and
Learn more about TheStudentExperience21,
which includes real-time reporting, a research-based action response
guide, and an interactive data analysis dashboard to reveal trends,
strengths, and growth opportunities across the system.