Student Leadership through Student Action

Written by: Terry Born, MCNC Coach

MCNC embarks on its twentieth year of promoting student leadership through student action! This year’s conference is being hosted by a Southern California triumvirate: Harbor Teacher Preparation Academy, Mattie Adams, Principal, Los Angeles SW Early College, Wanda Moats, Principal and Nova Academy, founded by Natalie Battersbee.

The theme, selected by students from the three hosting institutions is Reach Out: Exploring and Experiencing the Diversity of our World. Students who participate in the  April 18-22, 2012 event, will spend a day on Catalina Island, visit The Museum of Tolerance, Museum of Latin American Art, African American Museum, and Griffith Observatory and spend a day at the beach in Orange County. Besides sharing videos about projects targeting diversity issues in their local communities, students will engage in art happenings and group discussions on how to promote tolerance and improve understanding among communities with different beliefs, heritage, and lifestyles.

Last year five schools (LaGuardia MC, International HS, R.F. Wagner Jr., Greenville Tech, and Brashier) joined to form the first Student Leadership Initiative Innovation Lab network. These schools found ways to up the ante on student engagement, award high school and community service credit to participants, and even, in one case, to offer six college credits. This year everyone has returned and 5 new schools (El Centro, CEC Denver, Brooklyn College Academy, Harbor Teacher Prep Academy and LA Southwest) have joined the group, expanding the opportunities to link leadership training, social media, and academic advancement. With this added capacity and the experience of the pilot schools, new features have been developed to provide support and increase communication. MCNC has hired a Youth Liaison, Megan Lee, a former Wagner student who participated in two conferences, to create and facilitate a Youth Voices Facebook Group, and create a series of events that will propel the students to greater collaboration. There has also been a website created for Advisors from the MCNC Student Leadership Initiative Innovation Lab: (https://sites.google.com/a/mcnc.us/sli) where educational leadership is honed by social media. This provides weekly updates, shared templates, unit plans, resources, and student work. It’s a place for advisors to share great materials and great ideas. No one needs to reinvent the wheel and 10 schools are breaking ground each day, using the tools and technology in the classroom and in our digital universe to connect, collaborate, and create a wider and more wonderful world for our youth. Advisors use this site to explore what’s being done, what’s possible and to share creative solutions with colleagues in order to turn Education to Innovation.