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Milton Hershey School Creates Student Voice Platform within The Compass Project

Featuring Sharice Johnson, MHS Coordinator of Student Character and Leadership Development

During the 2020-21 school year, Milton Hershey School created a student voice platform for its students within The Compass Project called The Compass Project Grow. This project is an expansion of The Compass Project which helps students develop strong character and leadership skills through a student voice forum. The Compass Project Grow provides students an opportunity for self-expression and collaboration with MHS staff and students while focusing on the MHS Sacred Values.

“The forums allow me to grow by helping me advance my listening skills while also opening my eyes to other people’s opinions and viewpoints,” said Jada White, MHS student.

Milton Hershey School's Project Grow within The Compass Project

The Compass Project is a school-wide initiative that helps students develop skills in four distinct areas: Commitment to Mission, Integrity, Positive Spirit, and Mutual Respect.

“The Compass Project Grow provides an educational, workshop-setting that MHS students can use to discuss day-to-day topics relevant to our student culture, aligned with The Compass Project’s quarterly themes and the MHS Sacred Values,” said Sharice Johnson, MHS Coordinator of Student Character and Leadership Development.

In October, the project kicked off with a pilot forum for Transitional Living (TL) female seniors titled, “How to Have Difficult Conversation.” The forum provided an opportunity for students to deepen their understanding of how to approach adults and peers with difficult conversation topics.

Milton Hershey School students and staff participate in Project Grow forum

Since then, The Compass Project Grow has hosted seven student forums for MHS students to have a safe space to share their opinions and be heard on MHS campus. In alignment with MHS Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) framework, some of the student voice forums include DEI-related topics.

“I believe the student voice forums improved my public speaking and helped me be able to express my ideas to people I may not have personal relationships with,” said Declan Harty, MHS student.

As the 2020-21 school year ends this June, MHS looks forward to what is in store next school year and how the school can expand on its MILT Plan’s Modeling Character and Well-Being.

“The hope is to expand The Compass Project Grow to our Elementary and Middle Divisions to build a school-wide student voice framework,” Johnson said. “Through this project, we are able to empower students, translate better between youth and adult worlds, and build strong student-adult relationships.”

The Compass Project: Social and Emotional Learning

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