Student Empowerment Day at SHS

Student Empowerment Day at SHS
Posted on 02/10/2020
Ms Montero Speaking

This past Friday, February 7th, 2020, The SHS Student Council hosted the first Student Empowerment Day. On Student Empowerment day, students participated in a series of school-wide activities for half of the school day and had a focus on student empowerment, civic engagement, and elevating student voice in the school district and community. In the past couple of years, there have been notable challenges with student voice and input in the school district. The Rennie Center published its annual Condition of Education Report last year, which specifically highlighted the importance of Student Voice in the classroom, school buildings, district, and the community. Ultimately, the Rennie Center’s research indicated that students who have opportunities to actively shape their educational experiences will demonstrate increased engagement in their education, schools and districts will improve their cultural responsiveness by hearing, supporting, and validating student needs and systems. Communities can then offer students a greater range of educational opportunities.

students play rock paper scissorsSalem High and its student leaders are taking a step in the right direction, by giving ALL young students the tools they need to speak out and get involved in their educational experience.

Guest speakers for Student Empowerment Day programming included Mr. Armando Martinez and Ms. Katherine Montero.

Armando Martinez is a Senior at Salem Student University mr martinez speakingpursuing a double major in Sociology and Psychology. Armando currently serves as the president of the SSU Student Government Association President, is a mentor for students of color through the Brotherhood Initiative, and a Black Brown and Proud Representative. As a National Coalition Building Institute certified trainer and student leader he worked diligently to transform Salem State University’s approaches to diversity, inclusion, and equity.

student leadersKathrine Montero is a former biology teacher at Salem High, who has worked in youth advocacy for 20 years. She now serves as the CEO and Founder of Global Deeds. a nonprofit that helps educate lower-income communities in the process of empowering low-income youth through modern education and employment. Global Deeds has launched the Civic Engagement Fairs at Beacon Hill, which will train students from Gateway Cities such as Salem on how to elevate their voices to create an impact in their districts and throughout the Commonwealth.

In addition, the SHS mentor program was involved with the program. The mentor program is dedicated to pursuing a dual mission of empowering high school upperclassmen as leaders in their community and providing caring, uplifting personal support to first-year students

“During school, it is important that students learn how to use their voice because the world will only get better if more people feel empowered to share their opinions and enact change. Currently, our student leaders continue to advocate on the school and district level for the needs of all students” said Stella Rowley, President of the Student Council and Vice-Chair of the School Committee’s Student Advisory Council.

“Diversity is being present in the room. Inclusion is knowing that you belong. Equity is everything you accomplish in order to bring a diverse group of people from being present, to knowing they belong. The social justice profess strikes a healthy balance between those three foundational concepts of civically engaged community”. Said Armando Martinez, Salem State University Senior and Student Government Association President.

“My life changed completely after becoming Ms. Montero at Salem High School in 2003. Students became my greatest teachers and they were the ones who guided me through the process of understanding my purpose in life.  I am eternally grateful for the opportunity to serve as a teacher and fierce advocate of quality education for all”. Said Katherine Montero, CEO and Founder of Global Deeds.

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