Student Activism at Capitol Hill Day School (Apr2018 Hill Rag)

Student Activism at Capitol Hill Day School (Apr2018 Hill Rag)
Debby Anker

Student activism at Capitol Hill Day School

At Capitol Hill Day School, students learn by advocating for issues that they are passionate about. In age-appropriate ways, students learn to stand up, speak out, and advocate for change through the CHDS social justice and global competence curriculum.

Leading by example, Jason Gray, CHDS Head of School and Board President of the Association of Independent Schools of Greater Washington, drafted a letter urging national leaders to enact specific, vigorous measures to reduce gun violence, particularly in schools. Signed by 133 heads of school, the letter was published in the Baltimore Sun and Washington Post.

In a note to parents, Mr. Gray stated: "My participation in this process is rooted in a deep sense of obligation to do all that I can to protect those who are most vulnerable. I am extremely proud of our learning community and the ways in which we empower the many voices of children. I humbly stand behind the young folks who are out front of this issue, and eagerly lend my name to this cause."

Here are some examples of CHDS student advocacy in March:

--Eighth Graders organized a middle school walkout to protest gun violence in schools.

--As part of their French study of Haiti, 6th-8th Grade students met with Pastor Johnny Felix, Principal of K-6 School Nouvelle Institution Chretienne de Leogane in Leogane, Haiti. He described Haiti's poverty and lack of public education. Students are brainstorming ways to support Pastor Johnny and his students.

--Seventh Graders presented their interdisciplinary work on DC Wards at the Food Justice Youth Summit. They also created and facilitated two workshops for middle and high school students, weaving together sustainable redesign and global competency tools to address issues of inequities and food insecurity in DC.

--Fifth Graders studied how large cities weather storm surge and address infrastructure issues. At the Consumer Product Safety Commission Product Test Lab, they learned how products that make urban living comfortable and convenient also contribute to pollution and waste. Students met with architects, city planners, and landscapers to learn how to make cities more sustainable and healthy.

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