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: ( 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.

Water Sustainability: How We Live With Our Rivers Is the Focus of the Middle College National Consortium’s Annual Student Leadership Initiative

The Middle College National Consortium (MCNC) proudly announces that students from across the country are putting the final touches on their projects for the Middle College National Consortium’s annual Student Leadership Initiative. MCNC has become a national leader in school reform by implementing a school design that bridges the high school and college experience for underserved youth, leading to increased access to, and success in, college. A data driven, practitioner network of 34 small Middle College and Early College high schools nationwide, MCNC provides high school students with the opportunity to earn both their high school diploma and up to two years of transferable college credit upon graduating.

Long Island City, NY (Vocus) April 27, 2010

In anticipation of Early College Week and after months of preparation, the Middle College National Consortium (MCNC) proudly announces that students from across the country are putting the final touches on their projects for MCNC’s annual Student Leadership Initiative. To be held from April 28 to May 1, the Student Leadership Initiative will focus on Water Sustainability: How We Live With Our Rivers. Greenville,  South Carolina’s partner Middle College High Schools, Greenville Technical Charter High School, Greer Middle College High School and Brashier Middle College Charter High School, in association with Greenville Technical College, are proud to be this year’s hosts.

Provocative projects on the subject include:

  • Fundraising to support Water of Life, an organization providing clean drinking water to countries of Africa
  • A mini-documentary outlining the impact of bodies of water, such as rivers, wetlands and tributaries, on our every-day living, as well as, community, social and cultural life
  • With the expected population growth in Denver, Colorado looming, a research study dealing with local efforts to conserve water
  • Research comparing two bodies of water in Brooklyn, one on the Superfund Clean-up list and the other a lake in Prospect Park, to demonstrate how it is possible to maintain clean water in an urban environment
  • Working with the Buffalo-Niagara River Keepers to clean up the shoreline of Cazenovia Creek to ensure clean drinking water from Lake Erie

Dr. Cecilia Cunningham, Founder and Director of the MCNC, states that “the value of the leadership initiative goes beyond merely bringing students together to develop leadership skills”. “It gives participants the opportunity to explore social, environmental and cultural issues”.  “They do this as they discover skills they never realized they had, demonstrate initiative and  develop critical thinking.”  “Students and teachers set high expectations for themselves and then strive to meet them. Entire schools often become involved in the projects, gaining research skills and eventually getting more involved in their communities.”
The Middle College National Consortium, headquartered in New York City, is a leader in the movement to establish and sustain dual enrollment, high school and college, as a viable and necessary educational model.  Its mission is to develop small schools in which high school students, especially those who have been previously underserved by their former schools, can earn both a high school diploma and either an Associate’s degree or transferable college credits upon graduation.
To learn more about the Middle College National Consortium, visit us at ( for a comprehensive overview of the history, design principles, current work and achievements.
Contact information: Tony HoffmannMiddle College National Consortium    718-361-1981 thoffmann(at)mcnc(dot)us