|Spring Youth Voices Events Focus on Education Options|
Youth events this spring highlighted educational options that lead to equity for students, particularly those providing a second or third chance at graduating with a high school diploma while preparing students for post-secondary career or college success.
On April 13…
Students at Marshall Alternative High School told local and state policymakers about the resources and flexibility offered through their school that help them overcome struggles they experienced in traditional high school settings. The school, located at the Kellogg Community College Eastern Academic Center in Albion, offers students smaller class sizes, personalized instruction and enhanced support.
Eight students shared stories of the social, health, and academic barriers that led to their enrolling at MAHS, and why the program has helped to break down those barriers and help them see a future after high school. The program at MAHS includes the option to gain college credit through Kellogg Community College through The Opportunity School, allowing students to slowly ease into college coursework while still maintaining the tutoring, counseling and supportive relationships that help them succeed at MAHS. Follow-up work has included further discussions on student transportation issues, supporting individual student’s career path through mentoring or internship options, and discussions with local legislators on the need to support multiple pathway programs statewide.
The event allowed local community leaders and stakeholders to visit the program and hear directly from the students. Local participants included City of Marshall officials, Albion and Marshall School Board members, Marshall City Council members, leaders from Kellogg Community College and Albion College, as well as members of the Marshall Chamber of Commerce. The forum was sponsored by Michigan’s Children, Marshall Public Schools, Kellogg Community College, Calhoun ISD, and State Farm Insurance.
Students from Marshall Alternative High School told policymakers why their school works for them.
On April 23…
Students from Calhoun, Genesee, Ingham, Macomb, Oakland, Roscommon and Washtenaw Counties participated in our annual KidSpeak® session at the Governor’s Education Summit titled Achievement: Anytime, Anyplace, Anywhere, Any Pace.
The KidSpeak® session highlighted the need for multiple pathways to graduation with testimony from 14 students from seven programs from across the state – Early College of Macomb, Houghton Lake Community Education, LCC High School Diploma Completion Initiative, Mott Middle/Early College, Oakland Opportunity Academy, The Opportunity School in Albion, and W-A-Y Washtenaw.
Each student spoke about what did not work for them in a traditional school setting, how and why they enrolled in their current program, what works for them in their program and their post-graduation plans.
The listening panel included education leaders from the state and local level, as well as leaders in education policy, teacher educators, and the philanthropic community. Operating on a statewide and local basis, KidSpeak® brings youths before listening panels comprised of state legislators, community leaders, policymakers and others to talk about issues affecting young people. The forums empower students by giving them a voice in public policy debates and provide policymakers and leaders a rare opportunity to hear their concerns – and suggested solutions.
This event was made possible through the generous support of State Farm Insurance Company.
Education leaders listen to students’ comments during KidSpeak® at the Governor’s Education Summit.
On May 15…
More than 25 students from Kalamazoo County participated in Advocacy 101, during which they met with State Representative Sean McCann and advocated for their individual and group needs. The students were part of Calling All Youth, the youth advisory committee of Advocacy Services for Kids, a non-profit in the Kalamazoo area that works to support families and improve the system of care for children’s mental health.
The students discussed barriers to educational success and options for youths in foster care attending college, the Kalamazoo Promise, court-involved youths re-engaging in school, mental health stereotypes leading to bullying, increased teacher training on mental health issues, youth transportation needs, and high school credit recovery options. A follow-up visit to Lansing, including meetings with the rest of the Kalamazoo area legislators is in the planning stages.