Welcome to the Better Leaders Better Schools podcast.  This is a weekly show for ruckus makers — What is a ruckus maker?  A leader who has found freedom from the status quo. A leader looking to escape the old routine. A leader who never, ever gives up.

Imagine a 10-year-old student is invited to your staff meeting, and he stands courageously in front of 60 to 80 adults. His task to present the data which he’s researched and collected on staff implementation of a new aspect of a student-designed curriculum. The results are that only half the staff is implementing with fidelity, and the student challenges the team to level up their game.

You are probably wondering how you can give your students such a voice. Our guest today tells us how she has managed to empower the students’ voice in her school.  Listen in, get inspired, and learn.

We hope you enjoy the podcast. All the highlights, resources, and next steps can be found below. Listen to the full episode here and learn more at betterleadersbetterschools.com

Key Talking Points 

  • The birth of student voice empowerment in Melissa’s school
  • Challenges and setbacks when children are given so much voice
  • Negative and positive impacts of student voice empowerment
  • Implementing student voice empowerment
  • Melissa’s dream school

Key Milestones of the Episodes

 [03:01]  Tip of the week.

 [04:52]  Melissa Clark’s Introduction

 [08:08]  How Melissa started the student voice empowerment

 [13:25]  Challenges and setbacks when students are given so much voice

 [16:58]  Positive impacts from a student’s voice

 [23:24]  Everything is about learning

 [28:57]  Melissa’s top three priorities for her dream school

Key Quotes

  1. “The secret to improving our impact and to really make the change as leaders is to ask students what they need.”
  2. “As teachers that we underestimate the power of a child.”
  3.  “We discovered that the secret was to improve our impact as classroom teachers and to simply ask students what they need.”
  4. “Student voice could go so much further than just making a difference in classroom practice. They’re actually the untapped change agents within a school as well.”

Key Resources 

 Pivot (online platform for student voice)

About Our Guest

Melissa Clarke is a Principal and coach who has worked in primary schools for the last 20 years. Melissa believes strongly in providing teachers with ‘permission’ to try innovative practice and believes through coaching and personalised professional learning staff will be empowered to be the best they can be while ensuring all teachers are on a journey of ongoing improvement. Her interests include high quality literacy teaching in the classroom, visible learning and the activation of student voice to empower learners. Melissa has taught all grades from K-6 and worked with students from a range of backgrounds and support needs.

Tip of the Week

Be the best at one thing: Be really darn good at one thing. Be an expert in that. Find what you’re passionate about, be an expert in that and then hire others to be good at other things or empower your assistants to be good at the other things that you as a leader need to be active and an expert in at least one thing plus one to hire others.




  • Organized Binder is an evidence-based RTI2 Tier 1 universal level solution
  • Focuses on improving executive functioning and noncognitive skills
  • Is in direct alignment with the Universal Design for Learning (UDL) framework
  • Is an integral component for ensuring Least Restrictive Environments (LRE)

You can learn more and improve your student’s success at https://organizedbinder.com/


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