Resilience & Determination

What if students began to see themselves as superheroes who were already equipped with all of the strength and power they need to fix the problems they see in their schools and communities? What if we harnessed that collective power and equipped them with a few tools to be agents of change in their schools and communities? The concept is simple, the impact is huge. Meet our EmpowerED superheroes.


Do you have what it takes to be an Advisory League Leader?

Our Origin Story

EmpowerED is an initiative of The Education Trust in Tennessee. Since the inception of the Ed Trust TN office, we knew student voice was going to be an integral piece of our identity. Little did we know our approach would be radically different than we initially imagined. EmpowerED students participated in bi-monthly virtual workshops and youth development training designed to help them narrate their triumphs and struggles as they navigated and adjusted to a new learning environment. Our students, in high school and college across the state, were invited in the spring of 2020 to participate in a virtual panel to describe their experience with interrupted learning due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Ultimately, our goal was for students to be empowered to lead the changes they want to see in their schools and communities and feel connected to a network of like-minded students seeking educational equity and justice.

Fundamental to our student engagement approach is the understanding that, far too often, students are spoken for. EmpowerED aims to create a platform for the voices and opinions of youth. By equipping students to tell their own stories, we aim to provide a framework where students are the primary sources of knowledge and are empowered to bring about the change they wish to see in their schools and communities.

Meet the
League Leaders


The Education Trust in Tennessee is now positioned to mobilize students across the state! Students have gone from sharing their stories to advocating and informing policies and practice. Most recently, our Thrive Fellows conducted a Youth Participatory Action Research project outlining important policy recommendations to increase access and success to postsecondary education for students of color

Together, we:


youth voice on the most pressing education equity issues in Tennessee.


in youth leaders by offering training, workshops, and convenings focused on education policy and advocacy, and other opportunities to develop their identity, leadership, and socio-political consciousness.


youth perspectives and stories related to core education issues in order for them to advocate on bills, policies, and practices they support or oppose.


with other youth across the state and nation to build a strong network of fierce advocates and changemakers!

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