Fourth Grade Class Speaks at Portland City Hall

Fourth Grade Class Speaks at Portland City Hall

This week, the fourth grade class made a visit to Portland City Hall where they made an appeal before the Portland City Council. Throughout the year, 4th graders have focused on learning about advocacy and government. They visited and heard from advocates and hosted an Advocacy Symposium about the UN Sustainable Development Goals. This visit to City Hall was the culmination of their year-long studies, as part of our school-wide Season of Commitment, where students work to put learning into justice-based action in the community. 

With the help of All-School Community Engagement Coordinator Kristen Haferbecker, the class applied for three, three-minute speaking slots to address the city council. The whole fourth grade collaboratively researched and wrote remarks in advance, which advocated for the full implementation of the UN Sustainable Development Goals in our region, specifically related to plastics production and plastics recycling (under the Reasonable Consumption and Production SDG).

Nine student speakers were chosen to represent their classmates before the Council. They divided up their speaking slots so that three children could speak for one minute during each three-minute slot.  

Watch the video on YouTube (the OES presentation runs from 10:00-24:30).

All members of the Portland City Council were in attendance, and each remarked on the students’ ideas and passion, all of which were captured in the video clip linked above. Council members include: Mayor Ted Wheeler, Commissioner Carmen Rubio, Commissioner Dan Ryan, Commissioner Rene Gonzalez, and Commissioner Mingus Mapps.

Fourth Grade Teacher Michelle Vitone said, “The city council was so pleased that the fourth graders attended. They gave them a lot of praise in their work including their well crafted and practiced speeches. Ted Wheeler specifically praised the students on including ideas that they agreed on when it came to the city's recycling plan before launching into what they wanted to see changed or improved upon. Future actions are still to be determined, but the kids definitely captured the attention of their audience with their message.”

Photos contributed by Barrett L. ’23