Students spend about 1,000 hours of their time awake in school. To make those waking hours meaningful, Maple Grove Middle School turned to students to learn more about their school experience. Sixth, seventh and eighth grade students provided feedback on how to make improvements to their school experience at the school’s first world cafe.
Sawyer Leaf and Kara Adams, eighth grade student leaders, guided small groups through discussion prompts. Students wrote responses on large sheets of paper for school administration to review. Sixth grade students had the first opportunity to provide feedback.
“The first one was a little chaotic because we hadn’t done it before, but we learned what to do the next round and how to manage it all,” shared Leaf.
For the seventh graders, Adams and Leaf were more prepared and knew what to expect. They encouraged students to advocate for their ideas to improve the experience for students in the future.
“The students will listen to each other more than what the teachers are saying,” added Adams.
In conversations, students shared personal experiences and discussed how it impacted their learning. Leaf and Adams expressed joy about their friends and teachers, but some of their biggest concerns were about bullying.
“I like the social aspect, but I think the bullying and the fights should go down,” continued Adams.
Having a world cafe allowed students to come together with shared experiences and develop suggestions to be implemented during the 2022-23 academic year.
“I think it’s important because it gets student voices heard, and it can actually change the school,” Leaf concluded.