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In the first of The Education Trust–New York’s student-led roundtable series, students from across New York State brought their voices forward for #OurReopening: Reshaping Our Education in a Post-Covid World.

Alanna Middlebrooks, a high school student in Buffalo, led a dynamic conversation where four student panelists shared reflections on the year they had and discussed their ideas for the year ahead. Topics ranged from how students can support each other, what promotion criteria should look like for peers who may have fallen behind during the pandemic, and what adults in their school communities can do to support their social-emotional wellbeing and postsecondary plans. 

A central answer to many questions was as simple as, according to Candice Duncan, a high school student in Hempstead, “Ask the student how they feel. A lot of students our age don’t speak up about a lot of things, and teachers should make sure we feel comfortable reaching out if we need help.” 

As the evening wrapped up, student panelists called on their peers to join teachers, parents, and other education leaders at the table because there is no group better than students themselves who understands the impact of educational decisions adults make. 

“This event was about us because education is about us,” said Shuang Pierre-St. Surin, a high school student in Brooklyn. “We must bring our voices forward loudly, boldly, and confidently. This is #OurReopening.” 

Watch the full event here and share your thoughts on social media using #OurReopening!