Wednesday, January 28, 2015

National School Choice Week & Empowering Scholars

A guest blog by Sydney Menzin, Generation Citizen Democracy Coach

Scholars posing at the State House with Generation Citizen’s Ms. Menzin on Civics Day, December 8, 2014.  

In light of National School Choice Week, I want to touch on the connection between the advocacy skills promoted by the Generation Citizen program and the decisions made by BVP families to send their children to a charter school. 

The idea of having agency is reflected in the mission of GC, which strives to teach students about the power of their own voices and to motivate them to create change. Being a Democracy Coach for Generation Citizen has been a wonderful learning experience for me. 

In addition to developing my skills for leading a classroom, I had the opportunity to witness the empowerment of my students. In my sixth grade class at Blackstone Valley Prep this past semester, I enjoyed watching the students as they changed their mindset from one of doubt to one of confidence in their ability to create change. 

They came up with original ideas to raise awareness about their goal, which was to amend the Safe School Act to include a clause about anti-bullying training for teachers, by organizing assemblies and polling faculty members. They even motivated several teachers to undergo such training and invited state legislators to their classroom to hear their ideas for reform. Five students went on to represent their class at Civics Day, where they demonstrated passion and knowledge about their project and won the Systemic Impact award for their work. 

This special BVP class has affirmed my faith in the ambition of young students and the influence they can have on their communities. By attending BVP, scholars were already making their voices heard in the community, using skills that they strengthened through their work in the Generation Citizen program. I know that these students will continue to speak out about matters they think are important.

Special thanks to our Generation Citizen volunteers for coaching our scholars and giving them this experience! 

Join us in taking action:
  • Check out more photos from Civics Day on the BVP Facebook Page
  • Watch BVP's National School Choice Week video.
  • Advocate for choice, save the date for the annual RIMA Day at the State House on March 4, 2015! RSVP and learn more here

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