Actions & Advocacy

The goal of the Students Speak website is to provide a platform for uplifting students’ voices and showcasing their actions and advocacy to influence educational decision making. Right now, this action and advocacy is focused in Massachusetts and involves a small number of students. Hopefully, the scope of the advocacy and the number of students involved will grow.

Take a moment to explore below the actions that students have already taken.

2023 Legislative Briefing

On March 7, 2023, high school students from TLPI’s Students Speak project participated in a legislative briefing, Students Speak: Rebuilding Community in our Schools, at the Massachusetts State House. Students testified about the disruptions in their education as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and the urgency for schools to focus on rebuilding a sense of community and fostering positive student-teacher relationships..


Students Speak Youth Summit 2023

In April 2023, approximately 70 students participated in the 2nd annual Students Speak Youth Summit, a full day of activities planned and led by youth. The action-packed agenda was focused on developing advocacy skills and featured interactive workshops designed to explore a full range of tools for advocacy and self-discovery.


Students Testify by Zoom on Educational Reform to Massachusetts State Legislature

2022 Legislative Briefing

On March 9, 2022, secondary school students presented a legislative briefing on Zoom to the members of the Massachusetts legislature. Students testified in support of a funding increase for the state budget line item that funds Safe and Supportive Schools.


Students Speak Youth Summit 2022

In April 2022, approximately 40 students participated in a day-long Youth Summit at Harvard Law School, at which they designed and led workshops for their peers that imparted important skills and understanding related to youth activism for educational justice.


Students Speak Youth Summit 2022

Advocacy Action: Community Mural

Out Now

Inspiration for the mural came from a Students Speak project where Out Now students shared their educational experiences and what they need to be successful in school.

It is important for LBGTQ youth’s stories to be shared and help them to be seen and heard. They hope to make a change in what is going on in the public school system.

The mural is a comparision between experiences in school now and what it might look like in the future.


Advocacy Action: Student Survey on the Impacts of Remote Learning

Brockton Kidz Konnect

High school students designed a survey to gather ideas from their classmates about what their teachers and school leaders could do to better support them

Two high school students noticed common struggles amongst their peers during remote learning, and decided to create a student survey to gather ideas from their classmates about what their teachers and school leaders could do to better support them.


Advocacy Action: Students’ Priorities for Recovery and Beyond

Haverhill VIP

Remote learning has been a challenging adjustment for students, parents, educators, and schools since the COVID-19 pandemic started last spring. It has been an unprecedented time for students, who are missing social interactions with their peers and have spent an excessive amount of time in front of screens to learn. Challenges with remote learning have only compounded many pre-existing challenges. Listening to students’ voices is more important now than ever, as decision makers at all levels contemplate plans for the rest of the remote learning period and the transition back to campus.

In this report, Haverhill High School VIP students offer our own insights and experiences concerning the pandemic’s impact on our education. We explain that while the pandemic has caused some unique challenges, it has primarily exacerbated existing issues in our education.

Learn more about Haverhill VIP’s Action Timeline

Student priorites for recovery and beyond

Students Speak at Legislative Briefing at the Massachusetts State House in Boston

2020 Legislative Briefing

In February 2020, students from a number of Massachusetts high schools presented testimony to state legislators in support of creating Safe and Supportive Schools. Learn more about the students’ advocacy and read each student’s testimony about what they need in order to do well in school.


Focus Group Report

Released in the spring of 2019, the report Students’ Voices: Their Perspectives on How Schools Are and Should Be summarizes focus group interviews with a diverse group of Massachusetts secondary school students, including many quotes from students about what they need in order to do well in school and how they believe their schools should be assessed.