Youth and adults participating in the second year of Milton High School’s Youth Voice Advisory Council held their kick-off meeting in the school’s library on September 20th! The group first took part in a community building activity, then spent time exploring and discussing which values are most important to them, narrowing down a list to their top ten, then three, then one. Some of the core values that members of the team shared were accountability, joy, healing, and family. Two or three representatives from each last year’s three strands then shared the great work that they accomplished last year.
The Equity team spoke about their work with Wilmer Chavarria, the Equity Coordinator for Milton Schools, to give feedback on the district’s equity policy, as well as the survey that they created which asked students questions about their sense of belonging and comfort with being upstanders at the school. The Teaching, Learning, and Curriculum group described the video project they undertook to inform students about the variety of classes offered at Milton through interviews with staff and students. The Restorative Practice team described how they wrote community building circle discussions, and visited advisories to facilitate activities, games, and circles.
After hearing from the representatives, the 40 youth selected which strand they would like to join, keeping in mind the core values that they had identified earlier. The whole team also established group agreements that will guide their time together. Over the next year, youth and adults will alternate between meeting in their individual strands and all together, working on separate projects as well as collectively. Their overarching goal is to improve Milton’s advisory system, helping to increase student engagement, agency and building a stronger sense of community.
By Christie Howell