Community Insights: Key Themes From 12 Listening Sessions

The voice of the community is critical to the strategy and planning of Generation Next and we are excited to share the results of the first three months of town hall meetings and listening sessions.

After co-hosting 12 listening sessions with a number of trusted community partners to engage students, parents, and youth workers in conversations about the achievement gap, we received an outpouring of input from the community. More than 1,200 individuals and 35 organizations serving communities of color turned out to share their stories and listen to others.

GenNext Quotes

Here are the key themes of the conversations with the community:

  • Parent involvement is critical to student success and parents are asking for more support in the process of navigating school systems.
  • Students who do well are motivated by their dreams, personal passions, and an understanding of the value of higher education. Many participants have a deep-rooted motivation and passion for success; they feel that college is a critical part of their life plan.
  • Culturally-specific education is priority for many students. Many students said that they would benefit if their teachers had more specialized cultural competency training.
  • Students who have missed learning opportunities are asking for more hands-on learning.
  • Parents are asking for supplemental programs and resources to assist their children with college preparedness and out-of-school time programs.


Insights, successes, and concerns from the listening sessions will not only ground our work, but will be integrated with our approach and shared with the action network members as we take steps to collectively close the achievement gap and help all students succeed.

SIF 2015