Stacey Bartkowski, ninth grade social studies teacher, spearheads Project Citizen at Newark Charter. Project Citizen promotes competent and responsible participation in both state and local government. The students work in small groups to collaboratively identify, monitor and influence a public policy issue. Final projects are then presented to the class as well as to Newark Charter faculty, staff and parents.
“It is always the goal to have the projects reach the attention of policy makers,” said Ms. Bartkowski. One group has done just that this year. Ninth graders Jordyn Arrington, Makenzie Golla, Genevieve Gore and Jasmin Rutter focused their project on the equity of mental health laws. State Representative Ed Osienski wrote, “I am happy to inform you that after we talked about your Project Citizen around service dogs, I followed through with researching our Delaware code to see if corrections were needed to assure persons with mental disabilities were offered the same rights as those with physical disabilities. We found the Delaware code needed modifying and I have written the legislation you both made possible.”
The bill was on the House agenda and was passed into law in early June. The students and Ms. Bartkowski traveled to Legislative Hall in Dover as guests of Rep. Osienski to witness its passing.