Portland Youth Summit
The Youth Summit is the culminating activity of a curriculum packed with lessons that directly relate to Oregon civics and other standards. Four to six weeks before the Summit, teachers participate in a professional development seminar where they receive a packet of detailed lesson plans ready for classroom use. In the weeks leading up to the Summit, teachers choose from among these lessons to explore the selected topic with students. Following an in-class simulated hearing, the teacher selects approximately 5 student-delegates to represent their classmates at the Summit. While at the Summit, scheduled for Election Day, Nov. 2, approximately 150 middle and high school students will engage in discussions with civic leaders, local experts and elected officials who are keenly interested in helping students gain the skills necessary to become informed, active citizens.
How will teachers be prepared for the Youth Summit?
CLP provides professional development before the Summit plus a packet of detailed lesson plans ready for classroom use. In early October, teachers come to their first workshop. It is approximately 3-hours in length and includes dinner. Its function is to explain how the Summit works, introduce the lessons, have a short presentation on the topic from a local expert, plus network. CLP remains in frequent contact with teachers after the workshop and leading up to the Summit - sharing ideas, providing feedback, answering questions, and so on - via email.
What is the format of Summit-day?
The day is divided into two parts: morning hearings and afternoon townhall meeting. In the hearings, students are divided into one of 10-15 different hearing rooms where they assume the roles of "congressional committee members." Similar to a real hearing, they will take testimony from local experts, elected officials, and active citizens. In the afternoon, students meet together in a townhall-type forum where a student from each class makes a statement on behalf of his or her class to a panel of experts. The experts reflect and comment on the students' findings. Importantly, each teacher is asked to hold their own pre-summit hearing in his or her classroom, inviting outside speakers so that all students are engaged.
Where will the Youth Summit take place?
The Summit takes place at Portland State University in downtown Portland. We chose this location because it is in close proximity to the greatest number of participating schools and a college campus is ideal because students get to see themselves in higher education.