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Building authentic collaboration and co-creation in Lexington

The COVID-19 crisis exposes and exacerbates pre-existing inequities in our education system that aren’t being reported enough. Through a mixed methods student-led research approach, we aim to shed light on the student experience of navigating the pandemic in order to translate it into informed policy and practice decisions to better support the most marginalized students in our school system. The project began with a youth-designed survey that generated nearly 13,000 responses from all of Kentucky’s 120 counties.

Our team produced our first report in a long series, and it detailed the experiences of the survey-takers from Boone County Public Schools. However, the report was driven primarily by the quantitative side of the team, with the qualitative group only consulted towards the end causing them to rush to pull their portion for the report.

This week, we had several conversations about how to ensure authentic collaboration and co-creation between the two teams, consulting both adult allies and student members. We walked away with better communication channels and stronger understandings of what each team would bring to the table for subsequent reports, which was really helpful in framing the next few weeks. Having these dialogues was necessary for a productive and healthy collaboration going forward.