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Devin D. Thorpe
Devin Thorpe

What If the Students Were in Charge?

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You’ve heard it before. It may not be polite, but it makes a clear point–usually a critical one–to say “the inmates are running the asylum.” It may not be much of an exaggeration to think that the first person to think of putting high school students in charge of their own education might need to be committed. But that didn’t stop them.

This fall, their grand experiment will begin. Thirty students will participate in an independent micro-school directed by the students.

The program has grown up within a broader, student-led initiative called One Stone in Boise, Idaho.

Current chairwoman Simone Migliori explains that “the lack of student voice incorporated into community issues” motivated the creation of One Stone.

She says, “We are working to bring students into the discussion by giving them leadership positions and empowering them with ownership over their work when it comes to relevant community issues that they are passionate about solving.”

It hasn’t been easy, she says. “Daily, students face the challenge of not being taken seriously. Though they present the unique viewpoint of the next generation, their ideas are often overlooked.”

Simone recognizes the limitations of students to tackle big social problems. “Our students work very hard to come up with innovate solutions to community issues that they are truly passionate about. Unfortunately, there are some needs that high school students are not qualified meet. We often find alternative methods of approaching these problems that employ our strengths.”

Ultimately, she hopes that the organization will empower the students to become world-changing leaders. “One Stone’s programs make students better leaders and the world a better place. Our projects are often catalysts for broader social change. Bringing student voice into community issues empowers our next generation of leaders and draws on their innovation and creativity to ultimately disrupt for good.”

On Thursday, May 12, 2016 at 5:00 Eastern, Simone will join me here for a live discussion about the remarkable experiment to put students in charge of their own education. Tune in here then to watch the interview live. Post questions in the comments below or tweet questions before the interview to @devindthorpe.

I met one of Simone’s student director colleagues last month on the Fathom cruise to the Dominican Republic.

More about One Stone:

Twitter: @onestoneidaho

One Stone is a student led and directed nonprofit that makes students better leaders and the world a better place. One Stone engages teenagers through 3 community-based platforms: experiential service in Project Good, marketing and creative services through our social venture, Two Birds (a student led advertising agency), and social entrepreneurship through Solution Lab (our incubator for revolutionary ideas). In the fall of 2016, One Stone will launch the first student led innovative, design-thinking micro-school in the country.

Simone Migliori, one of the students, courtesy of One Stone

Simone Migliori, chairwoman, courtesy of One Stone

Simone’s bio:

Simone Migliori is a senior in high school and chair of the board of directors at One Stone, a student-led and directed nonprofit in Boise, Idaho. Simone is passionate about student voice and utilizing the creativity of the next generation to affect real, impactful social change in the community. For the past 6 months, Simone has been part of a team that has researched and developed a 21st century “un”-school–led by students, for students. The school will launch in the fall of 2016.

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Devin D. Thorpe

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