Dakota Meadows Middle School
Minnesota State University-Mankato
National PA
PA Forum
Northern Ireland PA
What Happens in Public Achievement?
Citizenship Course
Photo Album 2
MSU Student Quotes

Collaboration, Action and Civic Education (chapter in book published by National Council for the Social Studies)
What PA Teams did each year





University Students Study Democracy and Citizenship
From August to May university students meet as a class with their professor to discuss readings on democracy and political activism, and to help each other serve as Public Achievement coaches.The class enrolls thirty students, mostly social studies majors.
Middle School Students Nominate Issue Groups
In September 7th and 8th grade students hold assemblies in which students suggest issues or problems they think should be addresses by Public Achievement teams. Students are formed into teams giving them their first or second choice issue.
P.A. Teams Meet Weekly
Beginning in October, PA teams meet every Thursday afternoon.About 180 of the 600 students at the school choose to be in PA instead of study hall. Team meetings are about 40 minutes long. One university student serves as a coach for each team.

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.
2. Empowerment
Participants feel more effective, empowered., and optimistic about their ability to influence events.
3. Skills
Participants learn political skills through experience: How to run meetings, act as in groups, and learn how to affect decision makers and solve problems.
4. Understanding
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.

    Teams Learn Group Process
Students in PA begin by discussing and refocusing their issue. Research and interviewing is a must. They do team building activities and learn basics of small group democracy. They write agendas, practice roles, keep minutes, evaluate, debate and vote. Most teams write a mission statements, and plan actions or projects. Teams Meet with Authorities
After developing a mission statement and action plan teams often neet to discuss their ideas with adults in positions of authority. This can be frustrating but gives real world experience in the process of putting ideas into practice. Teams Make a Difference
Not all PA teams accomplish their goal or complete a major project. Everyone takes actions to learn and influence others. Many teams do sponsor assemblies, fundraising events, publish brochures, websites or take direct action to improve the community.

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