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Talking in Class


Just Communities' Talking in Class program engages students in eliminating disparities in academic opportunities and achievement by developing concrete school improvement strategies that work


Students have valuable insight about how to make schools work for them; how to increase engagement and motivation, teach challenging material, and create successful and inclusive classroom and school environments that encourage all students to succeed.
We simply need to create safe spaces for them to talk and then listen to what they tell us.

For more information about Talking in Class, please contact: Just Communities at 805 966-2063 or

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Why is Talking in Class Important?

So often, when we talk about young people, we talk about problems: academic achievement problems, drug problems, gang problems, etc. And so often, as well-intentioned adults, we try to solve these problems for youth.


One of these problems, is widely known as the Academic Achievement Gap, i.e., the disparities in educational opportunity and outcomes between students of different backgrounds and identities. Schools and districts across the country are struggling to close these gaps.

How does Talking in Class Help?

Talking in Class is premised on the belief that if schools are to be successful, students must be an integral part of the conversation and the solutions.


It enables schools to tap into the expertise of their students and, in doing so, develop new and more effective solutions.

Talking in Class is an integral part of Just Communities' Equity in Education Initiative, which works with educators, students and parents to create schools where all students enjoy a sense of connectedness, safety, and the highest quality education.

What is the Format?

25-35 students come together for three one-day sessions:


DAY 1: Building community and understanding the “problem.”

DAY 2: Identifying root causes and possible solutions.

DAY 3: Developing goals and strategies for improving their school and making a formal proposal to school and district leadership.

Who Can Participate?

  • Students in grades 6-12

  • Students from diverse backgrounds who represent a cross-section of the school’s full diversity

  • Formal student leaders, informal student leaders, and students who have not yet found their leadership niche or voice in the school.

  • On-campus recruiters and teachers participate by nominating students for the program, helping to coordinate program details, and supporting the students as they implement their action plans after the program.

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