NEP Pilots World Youth Council at Corbett Prep
The National Educator Program brings together students and educators to address pressing issues facing young people worldwide.
April 23, 2015 (TAMPA, Fla.) – Students from three schools gathered at Corbett Preparatory School of IDS to examine how teens treat each other online and lay the groundwork for future conversations that could hold global significance.
Middle and high school students participated in the first “World Youth Council” on April 9 and 10. The nonprofit National Educator Program (NEP) hosted the event to bring together students and educators to address pressing issues facing young people worldwide. Their topic for the first meeting was how to help “kindness go viral” and give students positive ways to address negativity online.
NEP works with educators across the United States and worldwide, seeking to develop school leaders, provide support and facilitate school improvement initiatives. Corbett Prep social studies teacher Mark Thompson is the organization’s executive director.
Several Corbett Prep seventh graders attended along with high school students from Tampa’s Chamberlain High School and the Cultural Academy for the Arts and Sciences (CAAS), NEP’s lab school in New York.
NEP seeks to provide an international perspective in its efforts, and the organization plans to include students from other countries in its future World Youth Council meetings. Sister Marinela Delonga of the Opuzen Primary School of Croatia was the keynote speaker at the Tampa conference, and students also had the opportunity to Skype with an administrator, staff members and students at a school in Afghanistan.
Ehsanullah Ehsan, principal and founder of the Kandahar Institute of Modern Studies in Afghanistan, told the U.S. students about how technology can be a force for good.
“It’s a big world, but technology has brought us quite close to each other. We have to break the barriers and speak to each other. This is our world and we have to make it peaceful,” Ehsan said. “We as human beings, I believe, have to unite. We can unite when we speak to each other and when we understand each other.”
During the two-day conference, students shared research they had done on online interactions and the risks students face when dealing with friends and strangers on social media and web sites. Then they broke into small groups to develop action plans that address how students and schools can prevent and address cyberbullying incidents.
Students emphasized the importance of digital etiquette and suggested tips for their peers to try, such as keeping passwords private and connecting only with friends. They also talked about resources schools could provide, ways to educate students about the dangers of cyberbullying and how to build students’ self esteem and confidence.
Diane Varano, principal of CAAS, organized the youth council and called the participating students “groundbreakers.”
“Your efforts will leave a legacy for youth to come together and solve issues that affect students globally,” Varano told the group.
Students listen intently to a Skype session with Ehsanullah Ehsan, principal of the Kandahar Institute
of Modern Studies in Afghanistan. They lined up later to take turns asking questions of him, his students, and staff.[/caption]
Founded in 1968, Corbett Preparatory School of IDS (formerly Independent Day School – Corbett Campus) is a fully accredited, nonsectarian private school in Tampa’s Carrollwood neighborhood. The school serves over 500 students from pre-kindergarten through eighth grade and offers the International Baccalaureate program of study for all students. Teachers are endorsed in gifted education through a master’s level grant with the University of South Florida College of Education. Corbett Prep balances a dynamic, nurturing and safe learning environment with high standards and high expectations to develop a positive approach to life and learning. Corbett Prep has become recognized as an exemplary school with over 7,500 visitors observing and learning from Corbett Prep teachers. For more information, visit www.corbettprep.com or contact the Admissions Office at (813) 961-3087.