To read about the Program in the Wilmette Beacon, click here.
Each group of students studies an issue that the board is working on using the actual documents and information their mentors use. In recent years St. Joseph's students have analyzed the Gillson Park Lakefront Plan, Wilmette Junior High students have prioritized capital budget items for the VIllage of Wilmette and Marie Murphy students have grappled with issues arising from their district's unique structure straddling several communities.
The students not only learn how their study of the U.S. Constitution relates to their daily lives but also learn how to participate in a meeting using Robert's Rules of Order, the ramifications of the Illinois Open Meetings Act and the skills needed to negotiate with a range of people having different perspectives.
The program culminates with a mock board meeting where the 8th graders take on their mentors' roles in discussing the issues of the day.
Each student is assigned to act as a member of one of the governing bodies. Throughout the fall they will participate in four workshops. The workshops build to the final event of the program, a mock board meeting for each of the governing bodies.
The League spearheads the program and participates directly by teaching public meeting management skills based on Roberts Rules of Order. It also oversees organization of each of the five programs and coordinates content so that all students come away with a better understanding of how government meetings, budgets and professional management activities are conducted.
During the week of February 23rd, all of the participating students held their mock board meetings. There were six meetings during that week, and all were taped and televised on Channel 6. All involved, students, teachers, administrators, government officials, parents and League members, were proud of the excellent job that the students did. All meetings showcased the students' knowledge of meeting management rules and the material being discussed. Seeing the students and their growth throughout the program is really incredible.
We want to thank our partners at all three schools: Wilmette Junior High School, Marie Murphy, and St. Joseph. Thank you also to the governmental entities involved: the Wilmette Park District, the Village of Wilmette, District 39, and District 37. We also want to thank the Wilmette Public Library, as they were not paired with a school but participated in the kick-off. This program also could not have happened without all the volunteers from the League. Thank you to all who helped with the program.
The Student & Government Leaders program is well underway at all the schools. There are several workshops left at each school and the students are more deeply delving into their topics and preparing for the mock meetings.
WJHS held its Roberts Rules workshop. We changed the format somewhat this year, with a teacher from WJHS taking the lead in running the workshop. We also had many volunteers help. Thank you to Gail Thomason, Keith Dronen, Alice Schaff, Joan Lasonde and Cathy Albrecht. The League provided breakfast for the students for the early morning workshop.
Marie Murphy also held its Roberts Rules workshops and is finishing up a series of workshops exploring their topic. A huge thank you to Lali for teaching the Roberts Rules workshops and for co-teaching the topic exploration workshop.
St. Joe's students meet their Park District Mentors and Observe Part of a Park Board Meeting
January 12th Kick-Off a Huge Success!
The Student & Government Leaders held a successful Kick-Off on January 12, attended by over 70 students and their parents, and 20 elected officials and administrators from local government boards.
The program began with a warm welcome from our league president, Gail Thomason, and was followed by a brief address by Bob Bielinski, Village President of Wilmette. The students then moved to the cafeteria, where they were divided into twelve groups of five to seven students each. Each group rotated through three stations. At one station, the students used computers to navigate answers to questions involving local government (e.g., what do I need to do to have a block party in Wilmette?). At the other two stations, students met with elected officials and administrators from the Village, the Library, District 39 and District 37. The students asked the elected officials questions about how the different entities work together and about the roles and responsibilities of the various offices. We had eight representatives from District 39, four from the Village, five from the Library, and three from District 37.
Each student received a folder at the Kick-Off, containing all the materials that they need for the program and League of Women Voters post-it notes. We have 54 students participating from WJHS, fourteen from St. Joe's and five from Marie Murphy. The students at WJHS are divided into two groups: one working with District 39, studying a learning commons initiative; and the other working with the Village on capital expenditure issues. The students at St. Joe's are working with the Park District, and are choosing their own topic. The Marie Murphy students are working with District 37, and they will also choose their own topic that is pertinent to District 37.
While the students were in the cafeteria, the parents stayed in the auditorium where they learned about the program and saw a clip from a mock board meeting from last year. We had league membership materials on hand, and League members were available to talk with the parents.
This program cannot run without the help of volunteers. We want to thank everyone who helped at the Kick-Off: Cathy Albrecht, Trudy Gibbs, Kate Gjaja, Allyson Haut, Nancy Hoying, Joan Lasonde, Gail Thomason, and Leslie Weyhrich.
We continue to need volunteers to help at the ongoing workshops at each school and at the mock board meetings. The volunteers would attend the workshops simply as an observer, not as a teacher. Our hope was to have a League member at each workshop to document what is happening and make note of what improvements can be made. To volunteer, please sign up on our sign up genius at: http://www.signupgenius.com/go/10c044ca4af2aa57-help
<image-here/lsgl_2015_6.jpg Photos of this wonderful event, courtesy of league member Leslie Weyhrich.
Joyce Pollack LWV Wilmette Chair Student & Government Leaders Jpollack200@gmail.com
Gail Thomason, Joyce Pollock, Leslie Weyhrich
Over 60 eighth graders participated in this year's Student & Government Leaders Program from Marie Murphy, St. Joseph, and Wilmette Junior High School. The Wilmette Park District, Wilmette Village, School Districts 37 and 39 and the Wilmette Public Library all volunteered to help with the program. Representatives from both administrative staff and Board members attended the revamped kickoff meeting, and many were actively involved with the workshop sessions for students.
The big changes this year, included moving the program from the Fall to the Winter at the request of the Village (due to their budgeting cycle) and revising the kickoff meeting to be more interactive for the students.
St. Josephs School and Marie Murphy had their last meetings where the students viewed their Mock Board Meetings. Pizza lunch was provided to St. Josephs' students and breakfast provided to Marie Murphy students, courtesy of LWV. The Marie Murphy principal stopped by for the viewing and engaged the students in a discussion of the topics they chose and the depth of their work, complimenting them on the program and thanking us. The majority of the Marie Murphy students + and their teacher + wore their LWV t-shirts.
Having concluded a successful program, we have moved into debriefing mode, meeting or emailing with the participants (Village, Park District, participating schools) for lessons learned.
In addition, we are drafting a memorandum and a timeline for use by SGL leaders or the SGL Committee.
Submitted by: Gail Thomason On behalf of Gail Thomason, Joyce Pollack, Leslie Weyrich
Congratulations of all the students who are participating in the 2014 League of Student & Government Leaders (LSGL) program at the Wilmette Junior High School.
The Student & Government Leaders held its kick-off on January 15th. The kick-off was a success. The program started with a welcome from Lali Watt, LWV Wilmette President. After Lali, Village President Bob Bielinski spoke. Then, the students moved to the cafeteria where they were divided into nine groups of about seven students each. Each group rotated through three stations. At one station, the students used computers to navigate answers to questions involving local government (eg, Do I need a permit to have a block party in Wilmette?). At the other two stations, students met with elected officials and administrators from the Village, Park District, Library, District 39 and District 37, and asked questions about how the different entities work together and about the roles and responsibilities of the various officials.
While the students were in the cafeteria, the parents stayed in the auditorium where they learned about the program and saw a clip from a mock board meeting from last year. The parents also had time to mingle and have coffee, which was generously provided by District 39. After the meeting, we sought feedback from the elected officials and administrators about the new format and it was overwhelmingly positive.
We have 48 students participating from WJHS, and seven each from Marie Murphy and St. Joe's. The students at WJHS are divided into two groups + one working with District 39 and studying a 1:1 iPad initiative and the other working with the Village on capital budget issues. The students at St. Joe's are working with the Park District studying the Lakefront Master Plan. And, the Marie Murphy students are working with District 37 studying a facilities plan and student health and wellness issues.
This program cannot run without the help of volunteers. We want to thank everyone who helped at the kick-off. Thank you to Trudy Gibbs, Kate Gjaja, Emily Hayden, Peggy Lilly, Susan Morrison, Susan Newcomb and Lali Watt. We also want to thank Lali Watt and Keith Dronen for teaching the meeting management workshops. We continue to need volunteers to help at the ongoing workshops at each school and the mock board meetings. The volunteers would attend the workshops simply as an observer, not teacher. Our hope was to have a League member at each workshop to document what is happening and what improvements can be made. To volunteer, please sign up on our sign up genius at: http://www.signupgenius.com/go/10C0E48A5AB23A31-lwvstudent
Joyce Pollack Jpollack200@gmail.com
Gail Thomason email@example.com
Leslie Weyhrich Weyhrichweyhrich@comcast.net
The program began the week of January 13 (one week after school resumed post-Winter Break) and ended the last week of February/first week of March, before ISATs are administered.
Forty 8th graders from Wilmette Junior High School, Marie Murphy School and St. Joseph's School participated. Each student was assigned the role of a specific member of one of the governing bodies. All meetings were broadcast on our local cable access channel.
At the mock Village Board Meeting, students from Wilmette Junior High School had to evaluate, rank and decide on equipment purchases for the Village within the constraints of a limited budget. Students at Marie Murphy School, representing District 37 Board members and administration, reviewed recent ISAT scores and determined what if any additional extracurricular clubs should be offered.
At the mock Park District Board meeting, shown below, St. Joseph's students discussed the pros and cons of their suggested improvements to the Lakefront Master Plan.
The League spearheads the program and participates directly by teaching public meeting management skills based on Roberts Rules of Order. It also oversees organization of each of the programs and coordinates content so that all students come away with a better understanding of how government meetings, budgets and professional management activities are conducted.
Special thanks to the teachers and coordinators at each of the schools, staff at Village Hall and Wilmette Community Television and our elected officials who made the program such a success this year.
The LSGL committee encourages everyone to check out the session posted on the Village of Wilmette website.