is a school elective that helps students learn citizenship by forming small democratic groups to work on public problems or issues. It is also a way university students learn by serving as citizenship coaches for the teams at Dakota Meadows Middle School. This will be our sixth year of Mankato Public Achievement. About 200 students have signed up PA out of the approximately 600 students at Dakota Meadows. Thirty six university student-coaches have registered for the class.
1. Motivation and Civic Responsibility
Participants become more motivated to be involved and feel more responsibility for public life.
Participants feel more effective, empowered., and optimistic about their ability to influence events.
Participants learn political skills through experience: How to run meetings, act as in groups, and learn how to affect decision makers and solve problems.
Participants better understand ideas like democracy, citizenship, power, democracy, diversity and interest.
How PA Works
In September seventh and eighth graders at Dakota Meadows Middle Schoothey bring up issues and problems they think are important. They rank their choice of what team to join. Teams are formed.Usually there is one university student-coach per team and the teams have 4 to 8 members On Thursday afternoons teams meet. The coaches help their teams learn to set goals, research an issue, experiment with power, attempt actions and learn skills and democratic ideas from their experiences.
Students Working Together
University students in Dr.Joe Kunkel's Citizenship course serve as "coaches" for the teams. These students meet with Dr. Joseph Kunkel in a class on Tuesday to bring together learning from reading about democracy and their experiences at Dakota Meadows.They also meet in debriefing meetings after Thursday PA teams.
A Mentor Council made up former coaches and our school coordinator (an Americorps member) advise Dr. Kunkel and help plan training and debriefing activities. Each mentor works with a cluster of coaches; observing, advising and trying to help.
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