Theoretical Overview:

  The program is a participatory approach to teaching civic literacy.  It is designed to be implemented in any educational curriculum. The program facilitates the requirements of the Michigan Content Standards and Draft Benchmarks by developing and enhancing skills required for depth of understanding, inquiry and research, public discourse, and decision making with a focus on the imperative of citizen involvement. These goals are achieved through the four components of the program:

I.   In-Class: ACTIVE


III.  Convention Process: VENUE

IV. Agenda Engagement: INQUIRY

I.   In-Class: ACTIVE          

Goal:  Create a forum for youth which provides a "free space" for democratic action... 

FACILITATION:   What does the Urban Agenda Project Facilitator do?

    The Project Facilitator  introduces the students to the Project. The facilitator establishes the “free space” which encourages students to develop and debate issues that concern them and their communities.  As students debate the issues, they develop arguments to defend their viewpoint using both personal experience and factual information in an attempt to create a consensus.  Facilitators encourage students in understanding the complexity of issues on a local and global level using the classroom as a forum and the discussion of personal experience  as legitimate information in decision-making.  During facilitation, vocabulary and political terminology are introduced to help students to articulate their issues.

II.   In-Class: ACADEMIC

Goal: Collectively create a ten-point Agenda reflecting the needs of everyone involved ...

AGENDA-BUILDING PROCESS: What do the Students do?

    Students are engaged in the agenda building-process. Students may define and investigate issues and problems using a variety of resources.  The activities provided were developed to facilitate the agenda-building process incorporating analytical tools such as the Needs-Demands-Response  Model (NDR) and the Six Points of Deliberation.


    The first two questions address the needs of the students, their environments, and their future goals. The third question addresses the formulation of demands that are derived from needs: what do the students feel is necessary to have their needs met? The fourth and fifth questions are designed to introduce the skills of organizing and coalition building to gain support for issues.  The sixth questions opens up discussion in reevaluating whether the Agenda accurately reflects the Needs of those it represents.

N-D-R Model

Six Points of Deliberation


1)   Where would you like to be in 5-10 years?


2)   Where would you like to see your community in 5-10 years?


3)   What are the issues that your class or school sees as most important?


4)   How can we gain support for our agenda as the youth of Southeast Michigan ?


5)   What types of community or governmental response would resolve these issues?


6)   What kind of education is needed in order to better understand the Issues?

III.   Convention Process

Goal: Create a Final Youth Agenda through collaboration with other schools ...

   The process begins in the classroom and culminates in Youth Urban Agenda Conventions. The participating high schools, middle schools, adult education, and post-secondary institutions are organized into clusters groups. The convention serves as the culmination of this agenda-building process and becomes proof that diverse communities can come together in a peaceful manner. The convention process is a forum where the students can exercise skills of communication, developing issues, organization, coalition building, and conflict resolution. This brings their research and efforts to its logical conclusion.  In the final convention, students will have the opportunity to exchange and debate about issues that affect them as youth, from around the state, the country and the world

  • Opening Plenary: Adoption of Rule of the Convention
  • Issue Level, School Level and Cluster Level Caucuses: Small Group Discussion
  • Final Plenary: Agenda Adoption

IV.   Agenda Engagement

Goal: Formulate collective activities that contribute to social change ...

    In this phase the students become more involved in the process through activities designed to explore the relationship between citizen responsibility and citizen rights. The students may wish to present their agenda to a speaker or suggest another topic for deliberation. The activities provided by the Project are:    

          Voter Registration/Education

       International Linkages with Other Schools

         Letter Writing Campaigns

          Community Outreach

        Speakers’ Bureau

Candidate Job Interviews  

(students have a chance to interview candidates running for public office)