'They are taking the baton:' MPS students speak up about issues that matter to them

MILWAUKEE -- Hundreds of Milwaukee Public Schools students came together on Tuesday, Oct. 8 to have their voices heard -- speaking up as one about issues that matter to them.

Three-hundred students from 31 middle and high schools attended the second annual Leadership Summit at Serb Hall, designed to build confidence while gathering the concerns of their fellow peers.

Student Leadership Summit, Milwaukee

"Us being here is going to make a huge impact," said Anika Moore, a junior at Bradley Tech High School. "This is a beautiful opportunity for some kids."

"Learn more about building me, and character, and building up my leadership role," said Amaun Williams, a senior at Riverside University High School.

It was a meeting of young minds with issues that run the gamut. They had conversations and took part in focus groups.

"They are taking the baton and running with it," said Matthew Boswell, senior director of the Department of Student Services. "I think what students really appreciate the most is the opportunity to be heard."

Student Leadership Summit, Milwaukee

It was an opportunity welcomed by both students and staff.

"Some amazing things are happening," Boswell said. "Staying in contact and in touch with their student needs, educational needs, community needs, and acting on those things."

At the summit in 2018, the students came away with three key initiatives that they presented to the Board of School Directors. They included restorative practices within the school district, bullying prevention and resources, and a new cellphone policy.

This year's ideas would be presented at the end of the school year, as well as after the spring summit.