By Tim Leeds
A new program was approved at Havre High School to improve students' understanding of activities in the community and the importance of community involvement.
The Havre Public Schools Board of Trustees unanimously approved the proposed High School Leadership program Tuesday night.
The program was developed by the Havre Area Chamber of Commerce in conjunction with the high school, presenters Havre High School Principal Jim Donovan and Counselor Kay Nessland said.
Nessland said the program will address social issues in the community. She said that once a month community members will address the students in the group to present and discuss issues such as police matters, domestic violence, homelessness, and the local government and how it impacts youth in the community.
Nessland said she began researching the program while she was job shadowing Debbie Vandeberg, chamber general manager, as part of the school's School to Career program. In part of that program, school faculty "shadow" area businesspeople to see what their jobs are like, and the businesspeople do the same with the teachers.
While working with Vandeberg, Nessland said, they discussed the High School Leadership program.
"I thought this would be a great program for Havre High," Nessland said.
Most large schools in the state already have similar programs, Nessland said. She said there is usually a charge to the students, but the proposed program for Havre would not charge. She said they hope to fund the program through the community businesses involved and through the school board, instead.
Donovan said he wanted to implement the program this spring, but decided to work out the details more before presenting it to the board.
He said many of the students at Havre High are active leaders and participate in leadership activities already, but they want to involve students who have leadership potential but are not extremely active now.
Nessland said this would basically be a trial run. She said they would start with a small group, about 20, and run for a shorter trial period. She said the program could be expanded in the future with more and larger groups and run for the full school year.
Applications for the program will be offered to the high school's sophomore class, she said. She said the students will have to submit an application and then undergo an interview conducted by school and chamber representatives to be selected for the program. The program will be conducted when the students are juniors, Nessland said.
She said that they are already talking with teachers and department heads to try to identify students who would benefit from the program. They will contact these students to offer the program applications to them to try to involve them, she said.