SPEF’s new program, The Franklin Forum, is engaging students from the Alternative Routes to Success (ARTS) High School in debate and discussion during two eight-week sessions. The Forum’s goal is to build students’ confidence, self-esteem, spontaneous thinking, and communication skills while teaching students how to participate in civil discourse. The Franklin Forum will engage approximately 20 ARTS students throughout the school year.   Quotes from Laura Greene, Assistant Director of Alternative Education:
“Not only have the students been positioned to gain valuable knowledge, but they are doing so while responding critically in the debate venue.” “This real-world experience has increased the students’ knowledge base as well as impacted their skills in relationship building, communication, listening, and critical thinking.” “The following are examples of teachers’ feedback: the students are excited, animated, and engaged; the students are showing more emphatic behaviors; the students are showing more respect for each other; the students are thinking more critically without prompting.”