Model & Strategy
Our Turn (formerly Students for Education Reform) trains young people on effective organizing and advocacy practices to amplify their voices – with student leaders and members playing significant roles in advancing education issues and policy changes both locally and nationally. The organizing model facilitates a deep understanding of issues facing students and arms them with skills and confidence to mobilize on behalf of what they believe.
Our Turn builds a base of young people with the goal of fostering long-term relationships in the community. Their programmatic model is strategically designed to 1) Train young leaders how to promote public discourse around their agenda and effectively argue that agenda; 2) Help students learn how to negotiate and understand the importance of compromise; 3) Teach student leaders how to conduct effective “research actions”, other local actions, as well as direct action with education and civic leaders in their communities; 4) Unlock student power to focus these efforts towards holding education decision-makers accountable; and 5) Compel local school boards, state-level education leaders, and the federal Department of Education to formally recognize Our Turn’s student demands which will pave the way for student-designed education change in the coming years.
In 2009, Alexis Morin and Catharine Bellinger, along with students at Princeton University, started a club to foster campus conversation about solving the achievement gap. They grew to 20 campuses and launched a nonprofit in 2011. Alexis and Catharine were listed on Forbes 30 Under 30 and Time Magazine’s 12 Education Leaders to Watch in 2012.
Mohan Sivaloganathan joined Our Turn in 2019 after leading game-changing initiatives as the Northeast Executive Director of The Mission Continues and Chief Development Officer at Sheltering Arms Children and Family Services. Mohan was named a 40 Under 40 Rising Star by the New York nonprofit community and a Next Generation Leader by the Human Services Council.
Our Turn is the nation’s leading movement of young people fighting for education justice. They activate the power of students – over 85% are students of color – to bring about real, transformative change in the education system.
Our Turn has engaged or impacted more than one million students.
Our Turn played a lead role in inspiring Denver Public Schools (DPS) to dedicate $1.5 million to fund a pilot program that will staff counselors to support students and improve mental health outcomes in schools.
Our Turn students recently presented the Raise Your Hand Student Agenda directly to the Federal Department of Education, elevating their demands on a national level.