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We often think of democratic education as student government - where students are sadly often pigeon-held into a glorified party planning committee with very little power. But what if things could be different? First, we could establish democratic norms in our classroom, where students are on equal footing with us to discussion curriculum and classroom changes - where the topics we discuss in class and the assignments that are given are a contract between the two of us, and our job is educators is to support, rather than tell what to do.
Then, what if we build student governments that operated in the school as an actual government? As in, they have a place at the school board. If they don't get what they want, they protest. And they demand things that every human being as the right to....often to the dismay of legacy administrators. Phones? It's their property, let them be used. Dress code? It's part of the first amendment. Emotional well-being? Who cares about grades when people are stressed and anxious?
This issues matter deeply to students, and they should matter to us as well. The people in our classrooms are well - people, they're human beings. And they deserve the same respect that any individual has. Sometimes ,yes, they're students and they may push boundaries or get on our nerves, but they still demand the rights they're beholden to - especially when these rights are needed to navigate our ever-changing world.
Further, the state of democracy in the modern world is dismal, to say the least. No matter the political party, people are unhappy with their representatives. Money corrupts the system and people aren't having their most basic needs met in some of the richest countries on Earth. Despite social studies being taught to every student, voting in the United States is still relatively uncommon and people rarely demand change. Yes, we're seeing an influx of young people taking a stand - but imagine if all our young people were given the opportunity to express themselves and recognize their voice was heard? The world would be radically different - and for the better.
Carla Marschall, who has worked in various IB programs across Switzerland, Germany, and Hong Kong, and is currently the Head of Curriculum Development and Research at United World College South East Asia in Singapore. Co-author of Concept-Based Inquiry in Action, Carla is an expert at preparing students for a flourishing democracy.
Merrit Jones, who is the executive director of the student-led organization, Student Voice, which in my opinion is the most interesting and exciting organization currently in development. Not only is it run by students, it provides a beautiful website full of exciting resources, amazing student-written articles, and materials for supporting student-led chapters that honestly disrupt the flow of traditional schooling.
Chris McNutt: Hey, the Human Restoration Project just launched a funding drive to keep delivering quality content like this podcast to you. In addition to our podcast, free resources, thoughts, research, professional development, and more, we're looking at expanding our organization. We're building up our infrastructure to market to a larger audience, incorporate as a 501c3, hire editors and artists, and build a conference and micro-credentialing suite. Imagine your favorite progressive ideas available through certifications that could be presented for continuing education credits or job resume builders. We want our content to resonate and ripple across the world, and your contribution gives us the resources to make that happen. And all of this isn't cheap to do. A few dollars is all that it takes. If every episodic podcast listener gave us three dollars, we would meet all of these goals and more within one month. All three dollar patrons will receive a Human Restoration Project sticker from us, plus continually you'll receive goodies over the course of the year. We really deeply appreciate you. This podcast is brought to you by Burton Hable, Dustin Rideout, and Susan Michelle Harrison. Thank you for your support. If you would like to keep our endeavor going and push for a narrative of change that focuses on systemic shifts and not just small strategies to tweak around the edges, visit our website at humanreservationproject.org. Hello, and welcome to Season 3, Episode 16 of Things Fall Apart, our podcast of the Human Restoration Project. My name is Chris McNutt, and I'm a high school digital media instructor from Ohio. In this discussion, we're talking to two incredible individuals about democratic education, what it truly means to engage students in the classroom that not only hears students, but actively involves them in the schooling process. We often think of democratic education as student government, where students are sadly often pigeon-held into glorified party planning committees that really do very little. But what if things could be different? First, what if we establish democratic norms in our classroom, where students are on equal footing with us to discuss curriculum and classroom changes, or the topics we discuss in class and the assignments that are given are a contract between the two of us, our job as educators is to support, rather than tell people what to do. And then what if we built student governments that operate in the school as an actual government, as in, they had a place on the school board, and if they don't get what they want, they protest. They demand things that every human being has the right to have. And this is often against what a legacy administrator would want. After all phones, that's their property, so they should let them be used. Dress code? Well, that's part of the first amendment. Emotional well-being? Well, who really cares about grades when people are stressed and anxious, as the ever-increasing majority of teenagers are. These issues matter deeply to students, and they should matter to us as well. The people in our classrooms are people, they're human beings, and they deserve the same respect that any individual has. Sometimes, yeah, they're students, and they might push boundaries, and they might get on our nerves, but they still should have the rights that they're beholden to, especially when these rights are needed to navigate our ever-changing world. The state of democracy in the modern world is dismal, to say the least. No matter the political party, people are unhappy with their representatives, money corrupts the system, people don't have their even most basic needs met in some of the richest countries on earth. Despite social studies being taught to practically every student, voting in the United States is still relatively uncommon, and people rarely demand change. Yes, we're seeing an influx of young people taking a stand, but imagine if all young people were given the opportunity to express themselves and recognize that their voice matters and is heard. The world would be radically different, and for the better. First, we have Carla Marschall, who has worked in various IB programs across Switzerland, Germany, and Hong Kong, and is currently the head of curriculum development and research and vice-principal at United World College Southeast Asia in Singapore. Carla is an expert at preparing students for a flourishing democracy.
Carla Marschall: I've been traveling and working in different schools in Asia and Europe for the past 13 years, but I'm originally from California, so born and raised there, and that's really where I initially became interested in progressive education as a child, actually, because I was lucky enough to go to a wonderful, small, progressive school in Los Angeles. And in that school environment, we learned through year-long themes, learning was integrated, and we really had a lot of opportunities to kind of stretch and extend our thinking through the arts, woodworking, music, drama. I even remember being in second grade and sitting by myself or next to a friend in the courtyard between classrooms with my saw horse and my C-clamp and a saw while working on woodworking projects, and I'm not really sure that that would happen today. It's called Westland. And what's really interesting is I kept quite a loose association with the school, like as I was getting older and I finished my teaching certification, and then I wrote something on kind of some of the powerful moments I had around like dramatic representation of doing kind of interpretive dance around the Triassic, Jurassic, and Cretaceous period, learning about dinosaurs when I was in grade three or whatever, and wrote a piece and sent it to my old teachers who happened to still be there, which was amazing. And I think about two or three years ago, I had a look at the website, and what's really interesting is some of the same structures or student experiences that I had as a student still exist there now, which is just amazing to think that you have that kind of continuity of experience because they really feel like they've crafted something special.
Chris: So let's open up with the state of education and how democratic education connects with neoliberalism and what the current state of democratic education is when there's just so much corporate connection to school, such as career-ready education. Although I don't take any issue with the idea of having students learning how to work, when it's the sole focus, I wonder how that's affecting how democracy functions and how learners see themselves. What do you think of that connection?
Carla: I think today we're hearing a lot about the need to prepare students for the quote-unquote world of work. This is something that I've heard many, many times going to conferences and hearing, oh, they need to know coding, oh, they need to know robotics, the heavy, heavy STEM kind of push that's being brought into schools, which is great. Of course, we want our students to be able to get employment and remain agile in changing economic circumstances. We also want them to be good people, good citizens who are able to protect and develop democratic institutions. So going back to John Dewey, he describes education as a social function where the youth learn from adults how to support the flourishing of society. So it's not just about my education is preparing me to be able to get a job. It's really about how do we really take into account the fact that our learners are the sole future representatives of the democracies that they will inevitably serve in the future. And for this reason, learners need to be initiated into the ways of being that support society and be given authentic opportunities to be part of this process.
Chris: And my personal connection to this is I work at a public STEM school and you know the STEM initiative was brought out of this need for career readiness, which is a constant balancing act of understanding that STEM is certainly the focus, but also we have to recognize that STEM jobs aren't necessarily the end all be all and there's a lot more important things than just the world of work or being quote unquote like a future ready.
Carla: Being a STEM school, I don't think that that's like a make or break. Like if you're STEM school, you can't be teaching democratic education because I think it actually has to do with the way that we are kind of intentionally creating social structures that would enable students to become active members of society. So if we kind of work backwards from that in terms of what it looks like, if we ask ourselves the question, what makes healthy democracies, it's like, okay, well, it's equality and voice. So to what extent do students' voices value, are valued equally and diversity in thought and opinion. So like to what extent does student learning encourage diversity and thinking or the sharing of ideas or the wrestling with opinions, active participation. So to what extent do our students encourage to actively participate? And I don't just mean like raising their hands in a classroom setting, but really in a hands on way where they can shape things within the school environment. And then of course the point you made earlier around agency and self-efficacy. So to what extent do students feel that their actions can actually make a difference in the world? Are they apathetic, which I think comes from a place of believing that the actions are meaningless or do they truly feel that they can enact change? So I think if you kind of distill it, those things would be what we would look for in a democratic education. Students feel they have a voice, that their voice isn't more or less important than others, that they're encouraged to explore diverse perspectives, participate actively and develop their sense of agency and self-efficacy kind of along the way.
Chris: And to make room for this style of education, I wonder how we can systemically restructure schools to ensure that these democratic ordeals are not only enabled, but there's enough time to really holistically get to know students and support their wellbeing. Realistically, a democratic education at most schools is just a glorified student council and like an AP government class. Although there's pockets of cool work going on with student governments, it is not mainstream. So what structures would you see as a barrier to allowing this to happen, as in what could you get rid of in order to support a cause like this?
Carla: It's interesting, like what to get rid of as opposed to what to keep or to enhance in your environment. I guess what you just described around tokenistic student council experiences, I mean, if we say that our social structures within the school environment are teaching our students about democracy, then having a kind of powerless student council without any decision-making power besides, you know, this is the theme of the dance, is not really sending the message I think that we want for our students today. I think, you know, it comes down to considering those natural power differentials within the school environment. So the way that teachers naturally have more power than students, how can they shift some of that power to students so that you can build more equality within classroom environments? And I don't think that has to be, you know, big kind of huge events. It can be the small things that really make a difference. So, you know, I teach seventh grade social studies and we start every lesson in a circle. So there's no, you know, this is the most important person sitting at the front. And we're all sitting on stools. We're all sitting on the same stools, which are slightly uncomfortable, you know, so I'm sitting with them on the same stools. I'm not sitting in my cushy teacher chair, which says, you know, well, you guys can sit on the hard stools and I'm going to sit on the nice chair. Like what's the message that we're sending students there? So that's very small, but I think it sends a message around the way that power is shared within that classroom environment. And in the same way, you know, when you have discussions with students, does every student comment ping pong back to the teacher? Or is there a way that you can have authentic dialogue where students are then calling on their peers after they've spoken, you know, so I really have tried hard with my students and they're not used to this. So it takes a little bit of time to say, you know, okay, you're not talking to me. We are a community of learners. When we're having a discussion, I expect that we're all listening because we can learn from each other. You know, this idea that learning is social. So when someone speaks, they get the chance to call on someone else. And you know, we talk about what are some of the ways that we can respond to people by saying, you know, I would like to connect to, or I agree with, or I would like to disagree because you know, giving students those stems to be able to engage in effective discussion is I think really important for them to see what it looks like to have healthy discourse, which is part and parcel of having, you know, a healthy democratic institution because it's not about polarizing views and saying you're wrong, you're right, right? It's about understanding that there are multiple perspectives that may be valid for different reasons and taking the opportunity to think about why someone may think something differently than you actually expands your understanding of the issue or the topic.
Chris: You know what, I hear what you're saying and it resonates with me when it comes to that neoliberal connection. We often say to students, complete your work. And I do it still sometimes and I try to catch myself because the implication of relating work to learning has a lot of hidden messages. Are our students employees that should be punished when they don't meet our expectations? Is school a place to mirror the workforce? And even then, is school a place that's meant to change that societal norm that work should be seen like this?
Carla: I was nodding my head when you were talking about saying to students, complete your work, do your work, here's your work, because I think it also hides what we would like students to be doing, which is, you know, engaging in some thinking processes, you know, if the work is to analyze or to contrast or to think about, you know, consider, then using more specific verbs actually helps students know what success looks like. So partly it's about being fair to them in terms of what we're asking them to do. But then I also agree with you that when we call things work, sometimes it can also be perceived as burdensome. And we want the learning to be, you know, in an environment where students are motivated, where they see the relevance of their learning to things outside the classroom. And so being very conscientious about the way that we introduce tasks, I think is definitely part of it. In terms of the debate piece, I was actually having a conversation about this the other day because someone said, you know, there's a history of debates, you know, debate has been around for a long time in secondary education and it's absolutely true. And my personal issue with it is when it's like what you said, it's about winning the debate by taking one viewpoint and then kind of needing to break down the viewpoint of the other. And I think there are a lot of really nice ways that you can modify that. So I do four corner debates quite often in my classroom, which, you know, are the four corners of your room, strongly agree, agree, disagree, strongly disagree. So it's more like a spectrum. And then you read out a provocative statement. So for example, you could say in the Middle Ages unit that we're teaching right now, you know, feudalism was more a uniting force than a dividing force. And then they have to go to their corner and they have to say, you know, talk to the person there. But the most important part of that is that then we have our discussion where it's like, okay, why did you decide to go to strongly agree? Let's share that with the class. How does that compare to the people and disagree? Does anyone want to move? Has anyone's perspective changed as a result of the conversation? Go ahead and move corners. That's totally fine. And it's not about someone winning or losing. It's about stretching our thinking, being able to provide evidence for the reasons why we think certain things. So I would have criteria for students on the board. I want you to say what you believe and why you believe that. You know, in the case study, dot, dot, dot, we saw and then they have to kind of give some examples that would ground or support their thinking. So you have things like that and then you also have more structured tasks like, you know, the structured academic controversy tasks where students are given, you know, it's more of a kind of a reading and writing task than it is a speaking and listening one. But I think being sure as practitioners that it's not about polarizing opinions. It's about understanding how people may have different perspectives for different reasons based on their, you know, who the stakeholder is in the environment. And there's a few programs that have really nice resources around that, like the Brown University Choices Program. They've got some really nice activities for like a climate change example. We had a unit last year on climate change and it was, okay, think about, you know, the perspective of the person in the NGO, the perspective of someone working for the oil company, the perspective of someone in government. What do you think that these individuals would say is the best way to try to tackle this? Is it, you know, all countries pay? Is it just that the people who created the most emissions pay? Is it no one pays and we just go on with development because there are developing nations that will be hurt if there's any kind of, you know, change to the current structures. And I think activities like that make it really clear that sometimes you choose a particular outcome or solution based on your perspective as an individual in your role in society.
Chris: For educators who want to promote a learning style like this, where would they start? I know many schools function like this fully, like a Sudbury school, but there's plenty of public schools that need just a starting point. What would an educator do?
Carla: You know, the best place to start is probably your own school, your own school context. And you might have some individuals within that context that are interested in something similar. So, and the reason I say that is that I think it will look different in every school because every school is unique and dynamic and changing. And if you have, you know, a teacher down the hall that's trying some things with you, then you also have that camaraderie that you're doing something together and can collaboratively work on it and discuss it. So I think it's that question of to what degree can some of these questions be brought into collaborative planning meetings when they happen in the school environment. So really asking yourself, okay, so let's go over our unit that we're teaching. To what extent are we gathering student voice, you know, to what extent are students experiencing a diversity in opinion and thought? To what extent are we asking student hate, you know, through the creation of projects or other means? And to what extent do they have some agency over their learning? And that alone, having that as a kind of litmus for a unit, I think would have, you know, produced some great conversations that it doesn't have to be earth shattering what the changes may be in the classroom. It could be those small tweaks where it's, well, originally I was going to do, you know, this particular activity, but instead I'm only going to provide, you know, the first half and then they're going to have to do some research on their own and then they can choose what they'd like to study. I mean, it's those things where you can creatively design together. So I think that's probably the first port of call. And then, of course, online there's a bunch of places to go. So I mentioned the choices program, which I think is really great for social studies educators that I would highly recommend. They do have a lot of resources online, which are free and easy to access. Then there's some other, you know, depending on what you're looking at and interested in, there are some other resources about kind of like the Harkness method, which is like the spider web discussion or Socratic dialogue or just Socratic discussion. I think there's a lot online for that as well. So I guess I would start there and then probably in the process of looking, you'd go down that rabbit hole of the World Wide Web and find a bunch of other stuff that it would be helpful.
Chris: Again, I want to remind you about our funding drive. Our work can take off as much as our Patreon subscribers can allow it to be. And some of this stuff really does require some serious financial backing. One thing that we're really excited about is micro credentialing, which was actually connected to us via Carly Marshall. We want to find ways to connect CEUs, professional development, digital badging and more to our existing and future resources. By doing so, not only do we reward the efforts of educators seeking this form of education, we also encourage building leaders to utilize progressive ed and attract educators who might just not have any experience in this field. By contributing $3 a month, you will help spark this initiative and allow it to come to life. Visit us on our website at humanrestorationproject.org to learn more. Our next guest is Merritt Jones, who is the executive director of the student led organization Student Voice. Merritt is in her third year at Duke and has been involved with the organization since high school. Student Voice, which you can find at stu.org, in my opinion, is one of the most interesting and exciting organizations currently in development. Not only is it run by students, it provides a beautiful website full of exciting resources, amazing student written articles and materials for supporting student led chapters that honestly do disrupt the flow of traditional schooling. I want to take a second and read the Student Bill of Rights, which is Student Voice's major initial resource, which has links to projects that students are currently working on surrounding it, plus resources to support these ideas in a classroom setting. So they exist of access and affordability for equitable education, civic participation for students with equal rights, the ability for students to influence decisions, a focus on deeper learning, a need for diversity and inclusivity, a right to do process, freedom of expression and access to modern technology and a mentally, physically and emotionally safe positive school culture.
Merrit Jones: So the Student Bill of Rights is really the first thing we developed as an organization. Back in 2015, the founders of the organization have been talking to folks about, you know, we needed to have a platform and something we stood for. And so I took a gap year before starting college in 2016. And during that gap year, a colleague and I were on the road talking to students and having them vote. And so this originally started as a voting platform. It was 12 rights that a team created from some field testing and focus groups we'd done. And then we, I guess, field tested those out across the office we were visiting schools. We had a couple thousand students vote, I think five or six thousand, if I'm correct, vote on the rights and we saw what trends and got some feedback on the language. And so what you see today is a revised version from that very original Student Bill of Rights. And so I can talk about specifically some of the ones that constantly emerge. And these are just things that we really wanted to create because, you know, we would go and have these conversations with students and the education system is so big and has so many issues. And so I think it was really helpful for us to create a tool that said, where do we get started? Like pick one spot and think about something you are personally passionate about and something you want to address. And so constantly the top three voter rights are or have been historically civic participation, modern technology and free expression and then diversity inclusivity is usually high too, depending on the school population. But all of these, we agree, are just absolutely fundamental to a quality education. So we've developed some resources around those that if you click on each right, then you can see some of the guides that we've created over the years and some of the conversations and pieces students have written to go along with them. But we really use it as a frame for all of our programs to have a starting place for students to think about this really massive system.
Chris: And I love this explicit focus on encouraging students to take charge in their own hands and adopt these policies within their schools. We've seen students take charge at the global level and such as leading protests and activism, but we haven't really seen much reported on when it comes to students radically changing their educational environment. How was student voice implore students in order to make these changes?
Merrit: I mean, we see a lot of really great local change happen because we go into schools, especially as we've been on tour, having conversations on the ground. We use these as a framework for hosting rounds of discussions where we have students speak critically about their education because we know in school students are asked to think critically about everything about education. And so providing that space has really done some cool work. And I can speak to a couple of those things. School climate and as one of the rights ends up being one that students really like to tackle. And so we've seen students helping take charge of that and especially around mental health, which is something we hear in almost every school we visit and students are struggling with that. Some of that is going to students helping work with district officials to help advocate for funding, grow funding allocation for additional guidance counselors. Some of that might be just students working with admin teams to switch up the way lunch is done so that students have greater free time during the day and more flexibility. So that has to do with scheduling, which we constantly see as an issue. And sometimes it's peer to peer education. Some schools are not resource rich. And so students need to get that into their own hands by creating workshops for each other. And then doing these round tables, we've found to be like a really cathartic starting process to just like being able to talk about what you feel like is going on. So those are some of the things around mental health we're seeing happen, but we're seeing a lot of students, of course, take up the issue of dress code and create more equitable policies. And we've kind of started as we've been traveling, keeping a bank of resources and policies that we think are good to help share. And so that policy starts when somebody says we don't like the dress code policy, and then we can share policies that we think are more equitable for students to better embrace diversity and gender and culture. And so those are a few things that we're thinking about. And I'll just go broader to when you start to see some of our partner organizations do really broad institutional work. Like in Kentucky, they're doing just really deep work through the peer to peer communication voice team at a state level, restoring need based funding to students through lottery systems, which was a big campaign that happened a couple of years ago. So on the affordability, access and affordability piece. And then they're also starting a pilot where they're doing school climate audits where students are auditing their own schools and doing surveys and collecting data to be able to present back to principals to talk about school climate.
Chris: Right in this concept of having students actively involved in your organization, both virtually, but also physically through the chapter system is a really unique spin for a nonprofit to be working nationwide.
Merrit: I think one thing that's really important for us as we've grown over the years is to have in person engagement. And at this point in the game, you know, we're engaging 1000s of students directly and through in person events every year. And we've been really fortunate to get funding to make that happen. Like the toll we spend on so we often, especially in communities, try to have a school visit, but then often those are coupled with events like town halls or some kind of a community event or bring together local organizers, or existing student groups. And a lot of times is our traditionally education improvement groups, which has been really cool. Like we were in Waterloo, Iowa, which is one of the most segregated cities, you probably have heard of Nicole Hannah Jones, that is her hometown. And we host an event there with students from both sides of the river who go to different schools. And it was the first time, you know, these people have been able to have conversations about what their vastly different school experiences were like, and a lot of ways that changes have been happening in that community is through empowering the arts, and they've given young people the space to paint murals and to just have the space to make and create art, which has been a really cool thing to watch happen on the ground. So these events can take a lot of forms. Like we'll be in DC in a couple of weeks having kind of our wrap up to this tour in the form of International Students Day, which happens every year on November 17th. We try to do some kind of programming. But this will bring students together from our tour and from, you know, years of engagement to really have hard conversations about the state of schools today. The last time we did this in-person convening was right after the election in 2016. And so it's kind of seeing, you know, where are we since then? And how has the climate of school changed? And then just really trying to decide where we go from there. What can we do collectively? What can we do locally? And making sure that we're supporting each other in the work that we're doing and sharing ideas and figuring out what works in one school and what doesn't work in another. And then learning from our success and failure. But that's like really important to us to do in person sometimes because the only connection can feel really lonely. And we really like to be a connector of students all over, that any students who connect with us on Instagram or Twitter or Facebook can feel part of the community, but we really like to go visit those communities and let them know that they're definitely not in this alone.
Chris: What do you see as the first line, if you will, of people looking for partnerships with Student Voice, as in, is it teachers who come across your resources and then use them in the classroom? Is it students who want to see a change in their school that maybe isn't recognizing them? Is it a combination?
Merrit: It is all of the above, certainly, especially as we've been on tour, some of these we've put out a call out to the schools. And so some of those were student-initiated, some were teacher-initiated. It works best when we have teacher and adult partnership. Those are most successful chapters and models that then when, you know, from the beginning, we have a highly engaged educator and a student there to help through that process. Or it's been even better when, you know, it's the admin reaching out to us to say, hey, this is something we want to do in our school. Because we know so much of policy also happens at a board level, too, or school for their top down. And so our chapters program is really holistic and it's something we've only recently started. We tried to resist for a long time because we didn't want to be guided or have to be guided by numbers and how many numbers we have of chapters, but it was kind of by demand because people wanted various entry points that we've now really developed a robust set of programs like chapters and like the most recent one you'll check out on our website is the Youth Action Network, which kind of coincides with the chapters program. It's a way for us to provide online programming that's open to anyone. Like we just had a call this week really diving deep into equity research with folks at CU that have been helping us create the programming for this every week and we have really incredible attendance and so all the chapter leaders are excited to show up to those. They're always recorded so people can go back and watch them. But our chapters look really different and it's why I really love our chapters program and we actually just put a call out today to hire a new chapters program coordinator because it's growing so much. Our chapters are smaller, the smaller school in Alaska has about I think 30 students to the Chicago Public School system who have student voice allies or student voice kind of boards in every school and the entire Chicago Public School convenes their student voice representatives from each school every quarter and so you know there's like a wide variety of what a chapter can look like and we're really open to how that looks but we know it works best when we have really good educators, student partnerships. So if a teacher comes to us, we'll help them find students and then vice versa but it definitely is best. We've seen success from the beginning. We can have students and teachers as partners.
Chris: For those who are seeking to partner with Student Voice or have their students check out their resource, where can they learn more?
Merrit: Of course, our website has really great resources especially imagine there's lots of teachers in the audience. We've really been working hard to develop resources for teachers so there's a specific resource tab where we have some guides that we've been updating and working to get re-updated. You can read incredible stories from our school magazine from last year's journalism cohort which I just find inspiring and like to pick up sometimes but I think we have a really great facilitation guide for figuring out how to start these conversations and then just some principles of engagement and different ways for starting for your school. I would say that the biggest thing you can do is especially on Instagram, we are really trying to get more young people involved there and so we have tried to create a lot more engaging content and figuring out how to work with the newest high school students and so a few of them are on Facebook or Twitter which is how we started as an organization so we're really trying to develop our platform and social media as well too.
Chris: Thank you again for listening to Things Fall Apart from the Human Restoration Project. I hope this conversation leaves you inspired and ready to push the progressive envelope of education. Again, I encourage you to check out our funding drive to continue messages like this to reach out far and wide. Leaving the smallest donation adds up and helps us continue to restore humanity to education. So let's do this together. We need you.