How 5th-graders stole show, saved ‘Splash’

By Anne Collier

It took less than two minutes for a video produced by 5th-graders to accomplish what a dozen concerned (adult) citizens set out to do: convince the Sacramento, Calif., Board of Directors not to slash “Splash” in yet another round of budget cuts. “Thanks to Splash, thousands of elementary, middle, and high school students have explored life in Sacramento’s streams and, in the process, have come to understand why taking care of our water supply is so vital to the community,” writes elementary school teacher Gail Desler in her blog. The 5th-graders “provided a compelling argument that led to a unanimous vote to save the program,” Desler added. Sylvia Martinez of GenYES wrote, “The fact that these young filmmakers changed a decision in these times especially affirms the power of student voice” and civic engagement. Martinez goes into a little more detail on the local and national significance of this program. GenYES is a teacher- and student-empowerment and tech-education program for schools nationwide (among other thing, it teaches students how to provide tech support for their teachers – see this about student “tech sherpas”).

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