FCLA students meet with local leaders

Florida Civic Leadership Academy students met with leaders from the Port Orange City Council Chambers recently to showcase video projects outlining problems in their community. FCLA is organized and run by the Lou Frey Institute at the University of Central Florida.

The program is a two-year co-curricular program based on the academic year and it encourages students to view their community as a living civics laboratory. Forty Volusia County Schools students from DeLand, Mainland and Spruce Creek High schools are serving as the inaugural class. Working under teaching associates who teach at these schools, the students will make the most of experiential learning by participating in service learning, meeting elected officials and other community leaders, and doing advocacy internship work. As they work through their living civics laboratory, they will also be working toward completing the Florida State & Local Government online class through Daytona State College.

In addition to collecting donations for the Domestic Abuse Council, Inc., the students presented video projects aimed at raising awareness for several community problems in Volusia County. Students from Mainland focused on homelessness, while students from DeLand High School tackled illiteracy. Spruce Creek presented two groups of students, with one discussing STD’s and the other discussing the dangers of texting while driving. Several elected officials who attended the presentations offered feedback and suggestions on how students might move forward with developing an action plan. Fostering these types of exchanges between students and community leaders is one of FCLA’s main goals.

As a pilot program, FCLA is still in the development stage. So the program is testing the waters for a Summer Seminar this year. That begins in late June and will be co-taught by FCLA teaching associate Steve Wolfson and LFI instructional specialist Kevin Anthony. Currently, FCLA is a three-way partnership between LFI, Volusia County Schools and Daytona State College, and students who successfully complete all portions of FCLA will receive dual enrollment credit through Daytona State College. However, it’s hoped the program will eventually expand to other areas in the state.

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