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Public Policies Challenged Through “Project Citizen”

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Sixth-graders from NMS and ENMS visited Touro Law Center on March 22 to present their semester-long endeavors entitled “Project Citizen.” These 28 students are a part of the district’s Investigate program, a challenging enrichment program that emphasizes higher level thinking skills, problem solving activities, and cooperative learning techniques. “Project Citizen” is in its second year as a part of the Investigate program

Students presented their projects to a panel of civic experts, including Northport Social Studies chairperson, Sean Hurley; Suffolk County legislative aide, Liz Alexander; Director of Development at SCCC, Christopher Williams; and Touro Law Students Kassandra Polanco and Sydnie Molina.

For this project, students first identified an issue of public policy in their community which concerned them. Each group of students then researched their chosen problem, interviewing community members who assisted them in learning more about the issue. Additionally, students worked to identify potential solutions by way of letter writing, emails, and phone calls.

Examples of issues researched include the rise in rear end collisions as a result of red-light cameras, the environmental impacts of plastic straw use, the need for school crossing guards to work longer hours, the need for clean water fountains, and issues of flooding in Northport village.

In addition to help from program facilitators Brianne Furstein and Fran Bertos, Northport High School law teacher David Scott also guided students in their research and organized their visit to Touro.

“This was a great event that brought civic learning to life. Students were able to see how they can work together to use their voice to make our world a better place,” said Mr. Scott.