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Moore Students Hold Public Policy Roundtable

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Moore Students Hold Public Policy Roundtable
Posted on 01/31/2019
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Lyman Moore Middle School seventh-graders recently held public policy roundtable discussions with local leaders, presenting their ideas for solutions for a host of challenges facing the city and state.

This was the culmination of the students’ Samantha Smith Challenge integrated social studies/ language arts unit. Over the course of six weeks, students selected policy topics of interest to them; formed teams; conducted research, including conducting interviews of experts; created media awareness campaigns, including infographics and PSA videos; wrote persuasive essays demonstrating the urgency of the topics they chose; and then presented their findings to local leaders.

The policy topics included dam removal, opioid addiction, homelessness, sustainable fishing and air pollution.

Thirty local leaders participated in the discussions, helping student groups consider the pros and cons of the solutions they thought most promising. The leaders included Portland Mayor Ethan Strimling, City Manager Jon Jennings, Police Chief Vernon Malloch, School Superintendent Xavier Botana,  Acting Maine Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Melanie Loyzim, Portland Board of Public Education Chair Roberto Rodriguez, and many others.

The lead teachers were David Hilton, Regina Morton, Court Caywood, and Tyler Jellison.

The Samantha Smith Challenge (SSC) is a dynamic educational program for Maine middle school students designed to build a bridge between the classroom and the world and to create curious, courageous, and engaged citizens. SSC projects teach students that, no matter what age, they can be part of solving the challenges and problems they see around them.

Samantha Smith, who died in a plane crash in 1985 when she was 13, was a schoolgirl and peace activist from Manchester, Maine. She became famous for fostering goodwill during the Cold War between the United States and the Soviet Union, by writing to Soviet leader Yuri Andropov advocating for peace and visiting Moscow. 

PHOTO CAPTION: Lyman Moore seventh-graders show their enthusiasm after presenting their solutions for numerous public policy challenges to experts such as Portland City Manager Jon Jennings (rear, left) and Superintendent Xavier Botana (rear, right).