On May 15, 24 students from Chaska Middle School East presented their public policy solutions at the state Capitol. Students and identified a community problem, conducted research and proposed a solution. This is a project-based learning program called Project Citizen, and is developed and sponsored by The Center for Civic Education. The goal is to promote competent and responsible participation in government.

Students Petra Causton, Micaela Cornell, and Chelsea Lohrenz won the “Best Visual Board” award and will be sending their board to the national competition in California this summer. Their project, “Feeding Children Everyday,” will be the only project representing Minnesota at the National Conference for State Legislatures, which will take place August 69 in Los Angeles.

Project Citizen develops 21st century skills such as collaboration, critical thinking, research and analysis. Students also learn about their government, including how to monitor and influence public policy. Students in Ms. Melby’s Language Arts and Ms. Rotunda’s Civics classes worked individually or in small groups to identify and study an issue in their community, research and evaluate options to solve this issue, propose a public policy to fix the issue, and then develop an action plan to implement the policy. See more about the national program at civiced.org and the Minnesota program at teachingcivics.org.