Empowering Student Voices: The ‘Tell Me Tuesday’ Initiative at a Diverse School

In an inspiring presentation, Jen Hoglund, the first-year principal of a highly diverse school, both socioeconomically and linguistically, shared her journey of implementing the PBIS (Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports) system and the innovative “Tell Me Tuesday” student survey. This initiative, designed to gather valuable feedback from students, demonstrates the profound effects of actively engaging students in their own well-being.

Hoglund, with her extensive background in both teaching and academic/behavior intervention, presented her approach to PBIS, which she had been advocating for years. But what stood out was the “Tell Me Tuesday” student survey. It wasn’t just another data collection tool. It was a bridge between the administration and the student body, giving students a platform to express how they were feeling and indicating the resources they might need.

The significance of this tool in a school with such a diverse demographic cannot be overstated. Children coming from different socioeconomic backgrounds and linguistic capabilities often find it challenging to articulate their feelings or needs. “Tell Me Tuesday” provided these students with a safe and structured environment to voice their concerns and feelings.

Hoglund’s co-presenters, including the Assistant Principal, behavior interventionist, and counselor, enriched the discussion by sharing their perspectives on the survey’s implementation and their respective roles in responding to the data gathered. They shared anecdotes of students who had been positively impacted and discussed the structured process set in place to ensure that the feedback did not go unnoticed.

In addition to the survey, Hoglund and her team discussed interventions that aim to foster a sense of community and belonging among the students. Community circle lunch bunches, for instance, have been instrumental in this. These lunch bunches, as described, are more than just eating sessions. They are designed to help students connect with both adults and their peers, promoting open dialogue and strengthening community bonds.

One of the standout moments of the presentation was when Hoglund emphasized the role of student feedback in shaping school policies. Rather than a top-down approach, her leadership style seemed deeply rooted in collaboration, with the students playing a pivotal role. This democratic approach to school administration was refreshing and resonated with many in the audience.

The presentation concluded with a Q&A session, where attendees raised questions about the challenges faced in implementing such a system and the steps they could take to introduce similar initiatives in their own schools. Hoglund and her team addressed each query with insightful responses, showcasing their deep commitment to the project and its transformative potential.

Jen Hoglund’s presentation was a testament to the power of inclusive leadership and the profound impact of giving students a voice in their education. The “Tell Me Tuesday” initiative is not just a survey; it is a movement, one that could shape the future of educational administration. In a world where student mental health and well-being are increasingly coming to the fore, such initiatives highlight the importance of active listening, understanding, and collaboration in creating educational environments where every student feels seen, heard, and valued.