July 28, 2022
Middle schoolers find their voices at BMore Me conference
Student-planned conference featured workshops, poetry, music and conversation
The inspiring, affirming messages were written large on dozens of posters.
“I will not let you underestimate me.”...“I will be the change.”...”I will put in the work and achieve what I want to happen.”... “I know who I am. I will not let somebody tell me who I am.” “I deserve to be listened to.”
The authors: City Schools middle school students at the BMore Me Student Conference on June 3.
The day-long experience brought together 120 City Schools middle school students for interactive and thought-provoking workshops, discussions, and creative collaborations exploring agency, identity, and advocacy. Through music, poetry, and self-expression, students celebrated a successful school year and examined who they are, how they enhance the city they call home, and how understanding different perspectives can enrich their lives.
It was the perfect culmination of the year’s BMore Me Curriculum, City Schools’ inquiry-based course of study connecting what students learn in the classroom to their communities by empowering them to use their voices to understand and express their unique identities. It also closed out the year’s BMore Me Speaker Series, a set of online panels featuring mentors, experts, and industry and community leaders.
“I am very passionate about our students because they all have the potential for academic excellence and scholarship,” said Lisa Ann Kim, City Schools BMore Me Program Manager. “And as a part of that, it’s crucial to see students laughing, dancing, and having fun being free - all while learning. This conference did exactly that.”
And the conference, which took place in the Student Center at Morgan State University, was planned entirely by students! The Student Design Team, featuring six students and three advisors, met regularly to plan, coordinate, and make the conference a reality.
Donovan McClain, a rising 11th-grader at Poly and one of the conference designers, said “We planned every detail: what we wanted attendees to feel, see and do. It was a great learning experience. And by serving as a host, I became more comfortable with public speaking.”
The thoughtful planning process resulted in a day filled with seven fun, enriching workshops. Students explored their identity through writing poetry, crafting love letters to themselves filled with affirmations, and creating original music that expressed who they are.
One workshop focused on self care: All Things YOUth Need: A conversation about self love/care, boundaries, mental health and more. “We covered ideas like knowing how to say no, when to set boundaries, and why taking breaks is crucial to avoiding burnout. Students were enthusiastic about taking these ideas back with them in their lives,” said Kamri “Kam” Moses, a City Schools graduate who serves as a BMore Me mentor and helped run the workshop and design the conference.
“The conference is another example of the amazing things that happen when we yield to the brilliance of students,” said Dr. Tracey L. Durant, Executive Director of Equity. “The pure, unadulterated joy on the faces of students when they entered the space was so inspiring. Students stretched their learning, were engaged, and walked out with new knowledge and strengthened relationships. We’re excited to do it again next year!”
Interested in learning more about the Conference? Check out this video recap from City Schools TV. To learn more about the BMore Me Curriculum, click here, and find the BMore Me Speaker Series here, here and here.