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Northville students honor Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s life and legacy

Students across Northville Public Schools are honoring Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s life and legacy in a variety of meaningful ways throughout January. “Restore the Dream” is the district-wide theme for this year’s student activities and initiatives.

 Different from past years, Martin Luther King, Jr., Day (January 20, 2014) will be a day off from school for Northville Public Schools’ students and a furlough day for the district’s teachers and staff.

 In classrooms across Northville’s 10 school buildings, students will take time to reflect on Dr. King’s message of peace and equality through teacher-led activities that include a range of experiences aligned with curriculum standards that include book talks; reading and listening to selected Dr. King speeches; writing reflections; art projects; sharing poetry and music; making unity hats; making kindness cards to share with others; re-enacting events in Dr. King’s life and the Civil Rights Movement; and classroom discussions about the impact of Dr. King’s message on our world.

 In addition to classroom lessons, several buildings also have school-wide and grade level themes and activities planned during January that reinforce connections with Dr. King’s messages of peaceful problem-solving and strengthening community through service.  At Moraine Elementary School, students will tie Dr. King’s dream into the “7 Habits” and the school’s The Leader in Me initiative. Students at Silver Springs Elementary School will hear from a storyteller who will lead a discussion about Dr. King’s powerful message and share a collection of stories that focus on peace, expanding horizons, compassion and understanding one another. 

Hillside Middle School seventh graders will be challenged on January 21-23 to follow Dr. King’s principles and “be the change” they want to see in their world and their school, when they take part in Challenge Day. The powerful, high-energy, daylong program guides young people and adults through a series of experiential learning processes aimed at increasing personal power and self-esteem, shifting dangerous peer pressure to positive peer support, and eliminating the acceptability of teasing, violence and all forms of oppression.

 At Northville High School, Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream” speech will be played over the morning announcements and students and teachers in social studies classes will discuss the Civil Rights Movement and the impact of Dr. King on society. Students at the district’s special education center program at Cooke School will view video clips about Dr. King and his “I Have a Dream” speech, make posters about how they can restore Dr. King’s dream, and visit interactive websites, read books and write about Dr. King. 

 “The activities that our students and staff are taking part in, focused on Dr. King’s legacy, go hand-in-hand with Northville Public Schools’ mission and vision for all Northville students to become compassionate, quality contributors in our society,” said Nadine Harris, Director of Special Services for Northville Public Schools and Co-Chairperson of the district’s Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Day Planning Committee.

 Northville students also will be reaching out to the community during January in an effort to put into action Dr. King’s principle of service to others. Amerman Elementary School fifth graders will visit Gleaners Community Food Bank in Detroit to package food for those in need in our community and around the world through the Kids Against Hunger program. Kindergartners at Thornton Creek Elementary School will brainstorm and vote on a community service project to help those in our community who are less fortunate.

 “The meaningful ways in which students, teachers and staff are giving thought to the principles taught by Dr. King are important,” said Northville Superintendent Mary Kay Gallagher. “It is our hope that these experiences will resonate for our students beyond this one day and beyond their classrooms, and serve as a reminder to all of us in the Northville community that the journey toward greater understanding and respect for one another is both ongoing and worthwhile.”

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