February 5, 2021
LEXINGTON, KY – Eight years ago, the Prichard Committee for Academic Excellence committed to positioning Kentucky students as education policy, advocacy and research partners by co-creating the Student Voice Team. Since that time, the team has engaged thousands of students and other education stakeholders from across the Commonwealth to ensure conversations about education policy are student-centered.
Today, Prichard Committee President and CEO Brigitte Blom Ramsey announced that after years of solid incubation, the Student Voice Team is spinning off from the Prichard Committee to become a fully independent organization, now known as the Kentucky Student Voice Team.
“In eight years’ time and with a $1 million investment by the Prichard Committee, the Student Voice Team established itself as a national exemplar of student voice in research and advocacy to improve our schools,” said Blom Ramsey. “We are proud of everything they’ve accomplished and excited to see the effort grow as a fully independent and student-led organization.”
The Student Voice Team’s notable achievements include:
- The conception of the Powerball Promise Campaign in which they helped move $14 million dollars to support 8,000 need-based college scholarships with funding that had been diverted from the state lottery;
- The publication of Ready or Not, Stories from Students Behind the Statistics, a book that captured the experiences of students struggling to transition after high school and was shared with students, educators, and policymakers across the country; and,
- The Coping with COVID Student to Student Study, a youth participatory action research project that engaged nearly 13,000 students from nearly every Kentucky county in sharing their feedback about learning from home during the pandemic with state policymakers.
Rachel Belin, the director and co-founder of the Prichard Committee Student Voice Team, has moved into a new role with the Kentucky Student Voice Team, as its managing partner. She shared that the Kentucky Student Voice Team will double down on its efforts as a youth-led organization, to help ensure the Commonwealth’s schools are as equitable, engaging, and excellent as they can be. Belin underscored that the team will continue to amplify the voices, experiences, and struggles of all Kentucky students, speaking truth to power, collaborating across differences, thinking critically, and fighting for education justice in the process.
“We have created a community and constituency around this work and transformed the ways in which policymakers and the general public alike understand the role and contributions of students to our own education system,” said co-director and high school senior Emanuelle Sippy. “As a result of our efforts, education policymakers are seeking authentic, meaningful student input and students have a seat at more and more decision-making tables. We’re incredibly grateful to be furthering this work as we begin our journey as an independent non-profit, centering not only young people in general, but particularly those who are least heard in our schools and society.”
Learn more about the Kentucky Student Voice Team at kystudentvoiceteam.org or on social media @kystuvoiceteam.