As the school year winds down I find myself reflecting on what our TGPP kids have accomplished over the past several months. I couldn’t be more proud! Here’s a snapshot:
Thanks to the vision and efforts of teacher Amanda Eldridge her ADL students participated in Year 2 of TGPP, with a focus on citizenship in their 8th grade civics class. They began by exploring the idea of community, learning about their own town, visiting town offices, and discussing with their local selectboard their opinions about real matters under review.
They then partnered with a second grade class and together explored community, reading books, having discussions, writing pen pal letters, and exchanging gifts. Both classes took a walking tour of the police station, after which ADL 8th graders hosted the 2nd graders and together made thank you gifts for the police department.
The capstone for the year was a citizenship project. To prepare for this a group of students who attended the 2015 leadership retreat taught their peers about the Cycle of Change, a template we developed at the retreat to help students visualize how to effect positive social change…
…which they then applied to their individual projects. So cool to see our retreat students being in leadership roles in this way. Here’s Nick and Will giving their presentation (oops, both caught mid camera blink!)
Every student was then asked to create and implement a plan for community involvement, volunteering their time in ways that were meaningful to them and that supported an important cause. Their efforts culminated in a Citizenship Gala, an evening of student presentations. Here’s one student’s final reflection:
I have experienced what it is like to be an active citizen, how being an active citizen rather than a passive citizen can help a community blossom. Most importantly I have learned that being an active citizen in a community can help make a positive ripple on other people….I now look at our community very different than before, for I have never known about the extra work involved behind the events that take place in this community. My perspective has changed because I will now participate in more volunteering around the community because I have seen through this project how much it has helped the community grow and blossom. I think it is very important for us as citizens to help volunteer for the community and to step up to the plate to help work with organizations that are important to us.
Well said, Charles!
Some of these same students will attend the 2016 leadership retreat, where they will fine tune their goals and plans for continued student activism. Stay tuned!
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