PROGRAM WAS A SUCCESS!
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
Leslie Weyhrich Weyhrichweyhrich@comcast.net
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.
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.