students are the real leaders in schools, we should acknowledge them as such

Really nice follow up article from NPR Ed (who is doing great work these days under the leadership of Anya Kamenetz). 

It’s two weeks before graduation, and Gordon seems to be everywhere at once — helping seniors fill out scholarship applications, writing recommendation letters, checking on the arrangements for that night’s band concert, fixing a computer issue for a math teacher, reimbursing a dollar that the vending machine ate, making copies of answer sheets for a practice test.

A typical day for a small-town principal. Only Gordon isn’t the principal. He’s an 18-year-old senior.

I heard about Robert Gordon from Student Voice, a national, nonpartisan student group that’s been visiting high schools all over the country to hear from fellow students. At North, the activists said, the first thing people told them was, “This school should be shut down.” Then, they heard this: “You’ve got to talk to Robert. He knows more about this school than anyone. He should be the principal.”
— http://www.npr.org/sections/ed/2016/05/31/473240474/corridor-of-shame
 Robert Gorden. Photo by Andrew Brennen of Student Voice -- https://medium.com/student-voice/student-i-think-this-school-should-be-shut-down-ac5096ffbfb2#.er9eig7ee

Robert Gorden. Photo by Andrew Brennen of Student Voice -- https://medium.com/student-voice/student-i-think-this-school-should-be-shut-down-ac5096ffbfb2#.er9eig7ee

The Student Voice Team, in particular Andrew Brennen, first brought Robert to light in this fantastic article (which I have shared widely, including with a superintendent friend working in the Orangeburg area): 

There are students like R all over the country. They are the students who have taken it upon themselves to fill the gaps left by adults in so many of our inadequately-resourced schools. We must honor students like R and see them as the assets that they are. And we are also compelled to listen hard and hear their stories. Doing so gives us the chance to better understand the most complex and intractable issues facing schools in some of the poorest regions of our country.
— https://medium.com/student-voice/student-i-think-this-school-should-be-shut-down-ac5096ffbfb2#.er9eig7ee

If you are at a high school, you probably know students like Robert. Students take on all kinds of leadership roles within schools, frequently the unwritten kinds of roles in difficult situations when no one else steps up. Students are the ones that are primarily providing leadership to other students. They are the real leaders in the building. Adults need to more clearly acknowledge and respect those leadership roles but also invite them into the formal leadership structures more often. Every single time we have shared leadership with our students at STEAM we have not been disappointed. We are all learners and we are all leaders. It is nice when students like Robert (and Andrew) help remind us all of that.