Female high school teacher offering assignment assistance and three students in classroom setting wearing face masks and working at desks observing social distancing using technology of laptop computers and digital tablet; part of a series (Shot with Canon 5DS 50.6mp photos professionally retouched - Lightroom / Photoshop - original size 5792 x 8688 downsampled as needed for clarity and select focus used for dramatic effect)

Our students need to be heard – can you help?

Contribute to ‘Voices of Students Project: Learning during COVID-19’

by Sharon Belton, WIPPS Research Partners director

This fall, central Wisconsin students returned to school – some remotely, others on site at school with safety precautions or a blend of both. To date, we know very little about their thoughts and feelings on learning during COVID-19.

In an effort to fill this information gap and to give students an opportunity to convey their perspectives to school leaders, the University of Wisconsin’s WIPPS Research Partners has launched The Voices of Marathon County Students Project: Learning During COVID-19.

The “Voices of Students” project provides ongoing research by WIPPS Research Partners with middle school and high school students about their concerns and successes with learning environments during the pandemic. This is an opportunity to collect and analyze information from area students to give them a voice. We will share information and insights with school officials and community leaders with the goal of helping to make informed decisions about issues of importance to our youth.

To raise funds to support this effort, WIPPS Research Partners is excited to be a part of a month of giving during October with the COVID-19 Impact Catalog (#COVID19ImpactCatalog), hosted by the Community Foundation of North Central Wisconsin. This online crowdsourcing platform connects 19 nonprofit organizations with donors and community members to build relationships, support diverse causes, and create enduring impact in Marathon County.

Click here to learn more about the COVID-19 Impact Catalog and to contribute to the Voices of Students Project. Contributions will allow us to continue our efforts to hear from students about school and learning during COVID-19.

The Voices of Students Project expands upon a first-of-it-kind focus group study of central Wisconsin middle and high school students conducted by WIPPS Research Partners in August 2020. What the students shared in these focus groups is compelling. Students expressed a sense that decisions about school are being made for them, but without them. They want opportunities to engage more directly with school leaders on an ongoing basis. They are very well-informed about COVID-19 and the issues at stake. They want their voices to be heard. To read a copy of this study visit wipps.org/COVID19StudentSurvey/.

Your help is appreciated!

Sharon E. Belton, Ph.D.
Wisconsin Institute for Public Policy and Service (WIPPS) Research Partners
University of Wisconsin System