New York City Public School Students Use Communication to Improve Schools

Feb 4, 2011 5:43 PM ET

(3BLMedia/theCSRfeed) February 4, 2011 - Seventy New York City public school students came together today at a workshop hosted by Media Impact in an effort to improve their school communities. 

The youth, students at the Urban Assembly Academy of Civic Engagement (CIVIC) and the Urban Assembly School of Business for Young Women (SBYW), are part of Media Impact’s My School – My Community program to engage students in creating critical conservations about issues in their schools.   My School – My Community is an innovative approach to learning that directly and actively engages students. Through hands-on exploration, students learn to effectively use creative storytelling and media to catalyze change and mobilize action about critical issues affecting their schools.  After six months of independent work, the students from both schools came together today for the first time to share ideas about producing and broadcasting serial dramas in their schools.   “We were thrilled to have all of the students in one room,” said Media Impact Program Officer, Katie Bartels. “What these kids are doing for their schools is truly amazing. They are leading a process that has the potential to change the school culture.”   The workshop included several interactive stations to reinforce students’ skills prior to the launch of their broadcasts next months. Working with Media Impact staff and volunteers – including a professional actress and scriptwriter -- students learned about scriptwriting, acting, editing video and audio clips, developing campaigns and hosting a radio talk show.   Now in its second year, My School - My Community uses communication tools to enable and empower students to take ownership of their school, provides a platform for student voices in the decision making process and builds the capacity of youth to engage peers, administrators, teachers and parents in building a strong, collaborative school community.   The program utilizes a problem-solving based learning approach. In the process, students learn to tackle complex, open-ended problems and communicate these issues and proposed solutions to a variety of audiences.   They take this confidence and these skills with them beyond the classroom. Teachers of participating students have witnessed significant positive changes in their students.   “This isn’t just any learning but a learning that [students] can carry over into so many other aspects of their life. Also, it makes them feel good and that they are appreciated in their school,” said Christine Panetta, an award winning teacher at CIVIC who had led the program at her school for the past two years.     Ms. Panetta also sees the program as a creative way to make teachers more effective by promoting dialogue and understanding by helping teachers better understand their students’ perspective and needs.     PCI-Media Impact empowers communities worldwide to inspire enduring change through creative storytelling. 
For 25 years, we have worked with local partners to produce programs that address the most pressing social and environmental issues. Using our unique My Community methodology, we engage and empower audiences around the world to improve their own lives. Working with local partners, we change the world one story at a time. For more information, please visit: