At Spring Hill Elementary School, an audience of city and community representatives learned about the importance of proper self-defense. This presentation was the culmination piece of a year-long program called Project ToWeR. Project ToWeR (Teens Working for Reform) is a collaborative program shared between Great Schools Partnership, the Knox County Health Department, The University of Tennessee and Knox County Schools. The goal of Project ToWeR is to promote healthy youth outcomes by creating opportunities to practice new skills, providing exposure to the university, and teaching research and advocacy.
Each semester, Project ToWeR students select an issue that is negatively impacting their community. These students learn research skills and practice public speaking while creating and carrying out a strategy for change. During this process, they take a field trip to the University of Tennessee where they have the opportunity to ask research scientists and experts about their topic. Students present the information to community leaders, stakeholders, parents, and public health advocates at the end of the school year.
Three community schools took part in Project ToWeR this year, Green Magnet Academy, Sarah Moore Greene Magnet Academy, and Spring Hill Elementary. Each school selected a topic they considered urgent in their community; Spring Hill selected self defense as their topic for the semester, Sarah Moore Greene students researched sexual assault and Green Magnet students worked with Keep Knoxville Beautiful on a littering prevention initiative.
Greene Magnet Community School site resource coordinator, Olivier Muhire, sees the impact Project ToWeR has on the students he serves. “They are researching topics they are interested in and learning skills that will help them in middle school. It’s a unique opportunity.” Project ToWeR is a program that is part of Great Schools Partnership’s Community Schools strategy.
Visit our Community Schools webpage for more information.