April 11, 2018
TCCHS STUDENTS CULTIVATE COMMUNITY GROWTH THROUGH ADVOCACY PROJECT
Helping students grow in their communication, advocate for their needs and for others, and build community are the focus of The Advocacy Project at Troy College & Career High School.
The year-long, school-wide initiative was created by Michelle Leonard, Troy College & Career math teacher, and Olivia Svacha, lead mentor for Intersect Virtual School, who both attended Camp One Troy last August.
Quarterly unit projects have included: students learning to express gratitude as well as engage in team building; assisting students with response skills to bullying-type of situations; and study of social justice issues during Black History and Women's History months. The final quarter will highlight job search and interview preparation.
"It is so impressive that two programs (in-seat and online) have come together to assist all students to help them understand not only personal responsibility, but their commitment to our community, as well," Deb MacDonald Linford, principal of TCCHS, said.
Dialogue among some 40 teachers at Camp One Troy helped spark ideas for the TCCHS Advocacy Project, according to Svacha.
"Anytime teachers have the opportunity to go outside the box of typical content or curriculum areas to be creative and have true authenticity of what you would like to have your students learn, you are making a stronger community of educators and students," Svacha said.
Carlo Zeretzian, TCCHS student, said that he especially enjoyed the team-building activities early in the school year.
"I made connections with my classmates and learned about them and how to work together. It helps students to be more prepared for real-life situations. We become closer by building more friendships, and we come together as a community," Zeretzian said.
The outgrowth of Camp One Troy has been beneficial to staff, as well as students, according to MacDonald.
"The shared learning from Camp One Troy that has been brought back to our building has also enriched our staff and is priceless! It is part of maintaining a close, cohesive staff," MacDonald said.
After brainstorming ideas at Camp One Troy and deciding on this project, Svacha said she and Leonard started with a student survey for direction on how students could learn about advocacy through interaction with others.
"We have only just touched the surface of how many situations students can advocate for themselves. Why not talk about it every year and help students communicate appropriately, so that they grow to become good citizens," Svacha said.