On October 18, 2017, ICSD Superintendent Luvelle Brown announced that every Friday, he will be turning his Twitter account over to one student in the school district. Brown described the idea behind his decision: “Our school district’s mission statement is Engage, Educate, Empower. Empowering student voices is the most essential way to do our mission and achieve our district’s vision of 6000+ Thinkers.”
This move is significant because students offer a unique perspective when it comes to improving the district, and it allows their opinions to be heard by Brown’s sizable Twitter following of over 3500. Making sure that students are able to play a strong role in decision-making not only allows students to feel as though they are directly involved, but also fosters self-growth and exposes educators and administrators to fresh points of view. Brown stated, “Since my arrival, I have learned most from our school district’s young people.” For this reason, the Twitter initiative was created to continue the ongoing conversation and feedback with students.
As of right now, Dr. Brown has limited the initiative to students who have served on the Student Superintendent Advisory Council. Naseem Williams ’18, one of the chosen few, said that, “it actually felt great to be able to reach adults of that high stature. Having the power to share my voice with those working in other school systems, I somewhat hoped that it would have an impact. . . . I think it was a great idea for Dr. Brown to give kids an outlet on a platform like social media which we all are so used to.” Williams was the second student who tweeted on Dr. Brown’s account. He used his opportunity to bring attention to issues that he cares about, such as diversity in the classroom and among school staff, that may be overlooked by teachers and students alike. Through tweeting ideas such as Naseem’s, people across the district open their eyes to issues that they had never even considered.
Similarly, Myah Frostclapp ’18 utilized her time on Dr. Brown’s Twitter account by tweeting about her belief that there is insufficient support from the school during the college admissions process. She wrote, “Students need more support and direction for the college application process during class time! #MFThoughts” and “Future athletes interested in playing in college need more guidance from coaches and staff on the recruiting process! #MFThoughts.” These tweets were just two of many, but these simple sentences carry a lot of meaning. She was able to express these thoughts through Dr. Brown’s Twitter, and the magnification of such ideas is a crucial step in the path towards making a noticeable difference.
Working with the Student Superintendent Advisory Council, Brown has been impacted greatly; he believes that it is only reasonable to share with the rest of the world what students have been sharing with him over the years. Although Brown has only turned his account over to these select students, he plans to extend the initiative beyond the Council to other middle-school, high-school, and even elementary-school students.
So far, the idea has received positive feedback. Buzzing within the school hallways, the initiative has been labeled as one that is unique and effective. Brown states, “I’ve been amazed by the response to this initiative locally, regionally, and nationally. For example, a large group of superintendents that were meeting recently in California, discussed this initiative at their annual conference, and they stated that it was one of the best examples of empowering student voices in the nation.” Although it is quite small now, it is possible that an initiative like this will grow into a widespread program across the region, and perhaps the nation.