Story, photos and video by Jo Mathis/AAPS District News
Ninth grade students from the Ann Arbor Public Schools gathered at Pioneer High School Friday for the Young Adult Awareness Symposium—a day-long event that gave students the chance to discuss both the positive and negative social behaviors that occur in high school.
Paul DeAngelis, the district’s executive director for high school education, noted that the idea took off this past summer with administrators talking about how to bringing teens together, to remind them that their voices matter, and most importantly to provide them with an agenda upon which to build important life skills.
The district invited speakers from around the community, both inside and outside of the high schools, to share their work and lead the workshops on topics that included drug awareness; understanding bias; digital citizenship; harassment; and health dialogue.
The program objectives of the Young Adult Awareness Symposium were to:
- Inform students about the obstacles they may face in high school due to harassment in schools, unhealthy dialogues, drug prevalence, and lack of digital citizenship.
- Educate students about the impact of harassment in schools, unhealthy dialogues, drug prevalence, and lack of digital citizenship and help students think critically about how to navigate said obstacles.
- Support student needs by providing them with information about how to access resources available to them in the school and in the community.
- Maintain a safe and healthy learning environment by informing, educating, and supporting students.
- Promote understanding through students talking about the understanding of tolerance and bias, and how it impacts their lives on a daily basis.
Pioneer’s ninth grade class of 550 students attended the event, while busses transported 15 Pathways and 150 Skyline, 50 Huron, and 15 Pathways ninth graders to the symposium.