Students brainstorming with teacher during participatory budgeting exercise.

Participatory Budgeting Showcase and Voting on Wednesday at Walker

Students raising hands during participatory budgeting discussionTo conclude a semester-long participatory budgeting project, sixth grade students at Walker Upper Elementary School will host a showcase Wednesday, January 16, 2019 from 6-7 p.m. to present a variety of student proposals for school improvements.

Visitors, along with students and school staff, will vote for their favorite project, and the winning proposal will be awarded a $6000 donation to help fund the project by the CFA Institute.

“CFA Institute is excited to support the Participatory Budgeting Project to help students discover how finance can transform lives and communities” said Kelli E. Palmer, director of corporate citizenship for CFA Institute.

Participatory budgeting, a process that has gained national and local attention, engages members of a community to deliberate and make decisions on how to use resources. The entire sixth-grade class began this project in the fall with the prompt, “How might we improve the school experience at Walker?”

Students discussiong participatory budgeting ideas during brainstorming session.“What I love most about this project is that it is an activity that includes everyone,” said Principal Adam Hastings. “Oftentimes, special projects such as this are only accessible to a handful of students, but in this case, we wanted every student to have a voice.”

Serena Gruia, Walker School parent and founder of Creative Might design studio, developed the Participatory Budgeting Program (#PBatWalker) and, along with social studies teachers and volunteers, led students through a series of collaborative efforts using the framework, “Discover, Dream, Decide, Design, Do.”

“The intention behind this project is to build community, demonstrate the need for and power of student agency, and create a space for students to make a valuable impact on their environment,” said Gruia.

Proposed school improvements include a school garden, upgraded bathrooms, and offering athletic tournaments. To preview student-produced videos of all 15 proposals and learn more about #PBatWalker,  visit www.PBatWalker.com.

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