Palm Springs Middle School students (8) recently sat down with the elected officials and staff of the Village of Palm Springs. The dais (a raised platform as in a hall or large room; See dais defined for English-language learners-- See dais defined for kids www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/dais) included 12 and 13 year-olds who looked on with each official as they dealt with a full agenda including complex issues. The interested and very enthusiastic students learned about some of the factors involved in running a village. The students participating included: Sophia Diaz, Jazlyn Estevez, Robre-ana Hutchinson, Luz Green, Skyler Wheeler, Codie Liebla, Kirena Hernandez, and Carey Barnes.
Civics teacher Andrew Kussoy coordinated two events this year where the school’s Civics students interacted with the local government. In late October, Florida Representative David Kerner joined Village of Palm Springs Vice Mayor Patti Waller, Village Manager, Richard Reade and Village Clerk, Virginia Walton who visited the middle school for a flag dedication ceremony.
Teacher Andrew Kussoy said that he intentionally integrates hands-on activities for the 7th grade civics students. “Most students can name the president, his wife, and probably even the name of their dog, but it is rare that someone knows who their State representative is, and even less likely that they know who runs the village where they live.” He emphasized the fact that while there is a need to teach students about federal, state and local governments experiencing local government first- hand makes it more memorable and meaningful.
Mayor Bev Smith welcomes the growing bond between the school and the Village. “I’m so pleased at the interest level and involvement that has come from the school, particularly this year. Mr. Kussoy and his students are committed to more interaction with the Village and we look forward to providing all the support that is needed to help Palm Springs Middle students enjoy the ‘real world’ experiences of local governing bodies.
REF: SDPBC (Press Release) Public Affairs Office Dec. 2013