- Phoenix Academy High School
FOCUSED on Student Equity and Empathy Ambassadors
The Superintendent’s Equity and Empathy Ambassadors are a group of nearly 40 students from all four CHCCS high schools who gather throughout the year to build community, share perspectives and feedback on school and district policies and embrace one of the primary goals of the Strategic Plan– to elevate and amplify student voice!
Superintendent Dr. Nyah Hamlett wrote in her FOCUSED message on October 20, “If you followed my Friday messages last year, you already know how deeply proud and excited I am about the work of our student Equity and Empathy Ambassadors. In our sessions, they remind me and others what it means to amplify student voice – and why that’s so important in our district to meet the goals of our Strategic Plan, but more importantly to genuinely and authentically connect with and listen to our students.”
“We recently held our first meeting, and I welcomed them by saying, ‘Whenever we get together, it reminds me of why I do the work that I do. You guys are fierce, you’re fearless and you are all about holding adults accountable, and that’s what I love about you!’”
The students who assembled for the first meeting on October 12 included some who have served as Ambassadors since the program was formed in 2021 and others who are new to their roles. In addition to Dr. Hamlett, the leaders included Coordinator of Student Leadership and Engagement, Lorie Clark as well as Blue Ribbon Specialist, Terrence Foushee and Coordinator of Instructional Equity and Equity Leadership, Trilce Marquez.
Phoenix Academy High School student, Avi Foster, said, “We have the power to say ‘We see this is a problem, we see this is a struggle. We know who to talk to, who to go to.”
Naveah’ Hodge from Carrboro High School said, “It’s really important work and I’m just glad to have the opportunity to share my voice as a student because usually school systems don’t ask for students’ opinions.”
In past years, the Ambassadors have examined policies and trends impacting their academic and social lives. They have brainstormed realistic and actionable solutions or changes in areas like grading and homework, class rank and school safety. The first topic for discussion and collaboration this year is high school daily schedules, with a goal of developing ways to build more consistency across the schools. At their tables, students created lists to capture the challenges and benefits of their schools’ current schedules.
Stay tuned for the impact report from the Equity and Empathy Ambassadors of 2023-24!