Students at Ben Franklin Organize “Big Listen”

Governor Corbett’s decision to cut the Philadelphia School District’s budget was in part the reason 23 schools shuttered their doors last year. Students and staff were either being forced to relocate schools and still-open schools were expected to accommodate them. The transition has been chaotic and has resulted in a variety of issues in recieving schools.

Students felt like their voices were not being heard and PSU members wanted to give them a chance to voice their concerns, so they organized a Big Listen. A Big Listen is an event organized by PSU members to gather stories and experiences from students in the school. With this information about what students want, PSU members can develop campaigns that will improve the school for the students.

PSU members from South Philadelphia High School, which accepted former Bok students, organized a Big Listen last year. To watch a video about the Big Listen at SPHS, check out our blog post about it. Principle Hackney of SPHS gave upbeat responses that changed the understanding of what would happen, “ If we bring the best from their school and the best from our school, we are going to have a phenomenal school.”

Kelli, a graduating senior at BFHS, decided to participate in organizing Ben Franklin’s Big Listen even-though she is graduating. She says, “For me, it is about helping others and making sure the students below me have a way of changing their school.” Sharron Snyder says there will be disagreements amongst students, but looks forward to the event being held later this week. She concludes with a positive outlook, stating, “It is definitely going to be a positive event to help fix Ben Franklin to make it a much better, safer school!”

Here’s a radio piece that On Blast (PSU’s youth-produced radio show) produced on the Big Listen at Benjamin Franklin High School:

UPDATE: The first part of the Big Listen happened today at Ben Franklin! We’ll be posting video, audio, and pictures soon!

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