Thought Leadership

Authentic Engagement Between the State Agency and Students in Connecticut 

The Connecticut State Department of Education used a portion of its federal pandemic relief funding to create a new program, Voice4Change, that empowered students to contribute ideas on how to improve education in the state. High school students could submit ideas for how they would spend $20,000 to address a challenge at their school. Approved ideas were voted on by students and winners were selected.  

In this panel from CCSSO’s Legislative Conference in March 2023, Connecticut Commissioner of Education Charlene Russell-Tucker spoke with two former high school students and their teacher who were involved with Voice4Change. Their involvement in Voice4Change is a great example of including voices and experiences of those closest to the problem, which is central to the cultivating trusting relationships element of the Coherence Lab Framework.