The Ultimate Presentation Skills Guide for High School Students

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Nobody is born an excellent presenter. Even the most captivating speakers had sleepless nights before their first presentation. It's no secret that a stunning presentation can be a game-changer, especially for high school students who need to impress their teachers and secure good grades. Moreover, excellent presentation skills are essential for every career path, making it equally crucial to master this art while in school. In this comprehensive guide, we aim to provide high school students with some practical and out-of-the-box presentation hacks to work smarter, not harder.

Break The Ice:

In a nerve-racking situation like a public speaking event, the best way to begin is by breaking the ice. A little humor, a fun fact, or even a brief storytelling session can help to connect with the audience and make them more interested in what you have to say. This approach will also help to calm your nerves and pave the way for a smoother presentation.

Know Your Audience:

Before you start crafting your presentation, you need to know who will be on the receiving end. Understanding the needs, expectations, and preferences of your target audience can significantly enhance the effectiveness of your presentation. Make sure to tailor your content, tone, and delivery style to meet your audience’s needs. If you are presenting to your classmates, keep the language fun and engaging. A presentation for your teacher or a panel of judges might necessitate a more formal tone.

Plan Your Talking Points:

After researching your target audience, the next step is planning your talking points. Having a clear roadmap can guide you throughout your presentation. Aim for three to five main points to ensure your content remains digestible and easy to follow. Remember, less is more!

Utilize Visuals:

Research shows that people remember 80% of what they see compared to only 20% of what they read. Therefore, incorporating relevant visuals into your presentation can dramatically increase your audience's engagement and retention. Consider using images, infographics, diagrams, or even short videos to make your presentation more appealing.

Practice, Practice, Practice:

One of the key productivity tricks to nail your presentation is practice. The more you rehearse, the smoother your delivery will be. Also, practicing helps you to remain calm, avoid awkward pauses, and be better prepared to handle any unexpected questions.

Use Technology:

In today's digital age, technology offers a plethora of tools to spice up your presentation. Platforms like Canva, Google Slides, and PowerPoint allow you to create aesthetically pleasing presentations with a few simple clicks. You can find thousands of pre-designed templates to suit your presentation style and topic. Additionally, using a platform like Zoom for your presentation can enhance your delivery with features like 'share screen', 'annotation', and 'virtual background'.

Remember, mastering public speaking and presentation skills is a journey. Don't expect perfection on your first trials. Keep honing your skills, embrace your mistakes and learn from them. As the renowned American motivational speaker Les Brown once said, ' You don’t have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great. '

Fore more resources to keep up with your high school education, explore our website .

References for Further Reading:

  • How To Speak So That People Want To Listen
  • Tips for Presenting Your Design Work
  • Christine Marrelli - Zoom November 24, 2020
  • 9 Steps to a Great Presentation

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8 Tips to Power-Up Your Classroom Presentations

Last month, I attended a Back to School Night for parents, sitting through presentation after presentation by teachers, some with slides that helped make their presentation a delight to listen to, and others . . . well, that's why I'm writing this blog post.

The goal of a classroom presentation is to aid you in effectively conveying information in a way that allows students (or their parents) to remember what you said. Unfortunately, for some, the presentation becomes a crutch, and they begin to rely on the slides to tell their story, rather than to help them tell the story.

I've been creating presentations using software like PowerPoint and KeyNote for 20 years, and I've learned a lot about how to most effectively communicate. Here's what I've found.

1. Use as Many Slides as You Need

It's a common myth that better presentations use fewer slides. This is simply not the case. I once sent an education conference presentation to the organizers so they could preview it in advance of my speaking. They wrote back, concerned that my 45-minute presentation had 116 slides. I looked it over and realized they were right! I revised it and sent a presentation with 135 slides back to them. I finished my talk with 5 minutes to spare -- just enough time to take questions -- and the presentation was a huge success.

The number of slides in your presentation is irrelevant. What matters is how well your slides communicate and how much time you spend talking about each slide. Spending five minutes on five slides will almost always be more engaging to your students than spending five minutes on a single slide, even when the information is exactly the same.

In the movie Amadeus , the Emperor of Austria complains to Mozart that his music has "too many notes." Mozart responds, "There are just as many notes as are required. Neither more nor less." Use as many slides as you need to make your point. No more. No less.

presentation in high school

2. Minimize Verbosity

Your slides are there to support what you are saying, not to say it for you. Keep your word count low, and only place one main point on a slide, plus three to five sub-points if absolutely needed. Remember tip #1 above -- don't be afraid to use more slides. They're free! Also, the language in your slides doesn't need to be in complete sentences. Pare the text to as few words as possible, using what's there only to emphasize and reinforce -- not replace -- the words coming out of your mouth.

presentation in high school

3. Maximize Visuals

Photos, figures and icons work as visual memory triggers. They help your students remember what it is you're saying. Any time you can add a visual that helps illustrate or reinforce the points you're making in your slides, you should use it. One great way to do this on the cheap is to use public domain or creative commons photos you can find on Flickr or Google .

4. Reduce Noise

Many teachers like to add banners, headers, footers, page numbers and more noise to their slides. Unless the information needs to be on every slide for a vital reason (which is rare), you should remove it. All these redundant elements do is create distractions from the content of your slides. I find this to be especially true of page numbers. Imagine if a movie included a time code at the bottom, constantly reminding you how long you had been watching. All this does is serve to take the viewer out of the moment. Page numbers in slides really don't provide any useful information -- they just remind your students how long they've been watching.

Pursuant to tips #1 and #2, you're not going to win awards by cramming the most content on the fewest slides. Make text and visuals as large as you can. Not only does this make them easier to see and read, but larger images and text make a greater impact to aid memory. There's nothing wrong with filling an entire slide with a photo, and then placing text right on top. You may have to use a transparent background immediately behind the text so that it's clearly readable, but the overall effect is almost always more memorable than just some text beside an image.

presentation in high school

6. Highlight What You Are Talking About

While you are presenting, your students may be momentarily distracted taking notes, thinking about what you are saying, glancing out the window, possibly even daydreaming. When they refocus on your slides, though, they need to quickly pick back up where you are, or you risk losing them again.

  • Use contrast or call-outs to clearly show the area of the slide you are talking about.
  • Reveal bullet points or table rows one at a time so that the last one visible is the one you are talking about.
  • Use arrows, circles or other pointers to show what you are referencing in specific parts of an illustration, photo or graph.
  • Animate and reveal parts of illustrations and graphs (where possible) to build your story rather than showing everything at once.
  • Use bold type or different colors to highlight the keywords in any lengthy text.

presentation in high school

7. Transition Changes

Humans suffer from an affliction called change blindness -- we have a hard time seeing changes unless there is a clear transition between the states. This is especially a problem in presentations where slides may look very much alike. Most programs include transitions that can be used between slides or on elements in the slides themselves.

My favorite transition is the cross-dissolve -- where the first slide fades down while the next slide fades up -- but different transitions can help illustrate points in your presentation. Are you talking about combustion or the fire of London? Use a flame transition. Talking about photography or Hollywood movies? Use the flashbulb transition. Even "cheesy" transitions help overcome change blindness and aid student memory at the same time.

8. Repeat Yourself Redundantly

It’s OK to repeat the same slide more than once -- especially when using images -- if you are reminding students of an earlier point. Obviously, this is not a license to be monotonous. However, if you want to tie separate ideas together, emphasize a point or splash in a little comic relief, it's perfectly fine to repeat a slide.

Bonus Tip: Make it Funny!

There's little doubt that emotional responses can aid memory. While it can be difficult to apply this power in a classroom slide presentation, humor is easy enough, and adding a bit of levity to your presentations at the right points can work to give students vital memory hooks.

Remember, the point of presentation slides is not to replace you as the teacher, but to help your students understand and remember what you are teaching. Overwhelming them with too much information can be just as harmful as underwhelming them with too little.

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High School Presentations Guideline

presentation in high school

Teachers are sadists. They no longer settle for essays and case studies. Instead, they want you to give presentations with visual aids. And they grade you based on your design and public speaking skills instead of only evaluating your writing. Our guide will be a lifesaver if your PowerPoint and Keynote skills are basic at best and you have no idea where to begin. We focus on the most critical aspects that make presentations beautiful and compelling without going into technical details.

As a bonus, you can also use our tips for your college PPT presentations and professional slides, as these simple rules are universal.

Decisions Before You Start Working on Your Presentation

First, you need to formulate your high school presentations goals. Do you want to draw attention to a problem or convince the audience to take your side in an argument? Do you want to hide the lack of research results or get a passing grade without much effort? Be honest with yourself and make the following decisions based on your objectives.

  • Font. Stick to one or two fonts (serif for titles, sans serif for body text). Times New Roman, Arial, Helvetica, etc., are all acceptable. But you must stick with the same font and size throughout the presentation. If you want the audience to be able to read the slides, titles should be at least 40pt and body text - 24 pt or above. And make sure you use high-contrast combinations of text and background color (but not green on red and other glaring combinations that are hard on the eyes).

presentation in high school

  • Colors. Pick your color scheme in advance and stick with it. The best practice is to use three or four main colors with a couple of accent tones. Black and white slides with bright accents can also look stunning. The color wheel should help you pick complementary colors if you don’t want to settle for PowerPoint default color schemes. 

presentation in high school

  • Layouts. If you don’t use a presentation template with preset layouts, stick with two or three layout options. Your audience will have trouble focusing if the layout changes with every slide.
  • The number of slides. While most PowerPoint presentation tips for students advise limiting the number of slides, that’s not the best policy if you have much information to share. Sometimes it’s better to increase the number of slides to keep them readable and compelling. Besides, regular slide changes will keep the audience engaged instead of getting bored staring at the same slide for five minutes.
  • Handouts. People can read or listen, but not both at once. So if you want the audience to focus on your performance, do not provide handouts until you’re finished. Let them read the info at their own pace after you’re done presenting. But handouts are your best friend if you feel nervous about your presentation and wish to draw attention away from yourself.

After you’ve made these preliminary decisions, it’s time to plan and design individual slides.

Compelling High School and College Presentation Slides

Should you cram your whole speech into slides? 

How many animation effects are too many?

What makes a good presentation for students? 

Each slide will look flawless if you follow a few simple rules. It all comes down to limiting your design impulses:

  • Limit yourself to one idea or point per slide. You can use slides to outline the following points, but each one should have a separate detailed slide.
  • Limit the word count. Presentation is not an essay or a teleprompter, so use no more than two or three short sentences per slide. Otherwise, the font will be too small, or the audience will focus on reading the text instead of listening to you.
  • Limit data on images, tables, and charts. Only provide relevant information and leave the rest for your paper or handouts. For instance, if you’re only discussing the economy of three countries, delete the data on the remaining dozen you use for reference from your slide. 
  • Limit distracting visual effects. Used sparingly, animations make for pleasant viewing, but excessive effects draw attention away from the content and can be annoying.

presentation in high school

Most PowerPoint ideas for students forget to emphasize that slides are visual media. So stop treating them as you would an essay. Instead, use visual tricks to highlight critical data and direct the audience’s attention where you want it. That’s what contrasting colors, infographics, charts, timelines, and other neat presentation features are for.

presentation in high school

Extra Touches for After Your Slides Are Ready

Unfortunately, high school design presentation is not the only success factor. The content of your slides matters, and so do your public speaking skills. Practice makes perfect, and the more times you run through your speech and slides before you have to take the podium, the more confident you will feel. Remember to practice reciting your speech out loud without reading the slides’ text, keep eye contact with the imaginary audience, and avoid blocking the images on the screen. 

Finally, have fun and treat each presentation as a chance to hone your skills. After all, your experience designing and giving presentations will come in handy in college and beyond. You can save your best work in a portfolio for later use when hunting for jobs and internships.

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How to Do a Presentation in Class

Last Updated: March 13, 2024 Fact Checked

This article was co-authored by Patrick Muñoz . Patrick is an internationally recognized Voice & Speech Coach, focusing on public speaking, vocal power, accent and dialects, accent reduction, voiceover, acting and speech therapy. He has worked with clients such as Penelope Cruz, Eva Longoria, and Roselyn Sanchez. He was voted LA's Favorite Voice and Dialect Coach by BACKSTAGE, is the voice and speech coach for Disney and Turner Classic Movies, and is a member of Voice and Speech Trainers Association. This article has been fact-checked, ensuring the accuracy of any cited facts and confirming the authority of its sources. This article has been viewed 1,635,322 times.

Doing a presentation in class can be intimidating, but it does not have to be. This wikiHow will give you lots of pointers on how to do a presentation in class with minimal stress.

Planning the Presentation

Step 1 Write note cards on index cards.

  • Write down keywords or main ideas. If you need to consult your index cards, you're only going to want to scan the index card for information, not read every last word.
  • Most of the time, the act of putting information down on your index cards will help you remember the information. So, while you might not strictly need the note cards, it's a nice security blanket to have if you happen to forget what you were going to say.
  • You don't want to be reading straight off your notecards during your presentation.

Step 2 Practice.

  • Practice in front of your family or friends, or in front of the mirror, when you rehearse your presentation. It's probably better to do it in front of friends who you may not know well, as this will help you replicate the feeling of being in front of the class.
  • Ask your friends for feedback after you finish your presentation. Was the presentation long enough? How was your eye contact? Did you stammer at all? Were all the points clearly made?
  • Make a critique of your practice performance. Challenge yourself to work on all the things that you believe you can improve during the real presentation. When it comes time to deliver the real deal, you'll feel confident knowing that you've worked extra hard on what was toughest for you.

Step 3 Do your research....

  • Get quotes from reliable sources. Good quotes make a good presentation great. Taking what smart people have said and putting it into your presentation not only makes you look smart, it shows the teacher that you spent time thinking about what other people said.
  • Make sure your sources are trustworthy. There's nothing that can quite break your confidence like a fact that turns out to not be a fact. Don't always trust the information you get off the Internet.

Delivering the Presentation

Step 1 Smile...

  • Studies have shown that smiles are infectious; that means that once you smile, it's hard for everyone else not to smile. So if you want your presentation to go off without a hitch, force yourself to smile. That'll make everyone smile; and maybe those smiles will make you actually smile.

Step 2 Feel confident about your presentation.

  • Think about your intention before you talk to your audience. Do you want to educate, enlighten, or entertain this audience? What is the effect that you want to have on the listener?
  • Visualize success before, during, and after your presentation. Be humble about what you do — no need for cockiness — but imagine a successful presentation at all times. Don't let the thought of failure creep into your mind.
  • In many ways, your confidence is just as important as the information you're delivering. You don't want to spread misinformation, or skimp on doing your research, but a lot of what you'll be graded on — and what the other students come away with — is going to be your level of confidence. Also if you are confident, you will have a better time exchanging ideas with the class.
  • If you need a confidence boost, think big picture. After 10 or 15 minutes, your presentation will be over. What will your presentation matter in the long run? Probably not very much. Try to do the best you can, but if you're getting nervous, remind yourself that there are much more important moments in your life to come.

Step 3 Make eye contact.

  • Have the goal of looking at every person in the classroom at least once. That way, everyone will feel like you've engaged with them. Plus, you'll look like you know what you're talking about.

Step 4 Be sure to have inflection in your voice.

  • Inflection is the kind of movement that radio DJs put into their voice; it's the ramped-up pitch in your voice when it gets excited. You don't want to sound like you've just seen a lion, but you also don't want to sound like you've just seen a squirrel, either. Vary it up to make the presentation more interesting.

Step 5 Use hand motions.

  • Tell a story, maybe one with a personal note. Stories are great for history or English presentations. Maybe you can tie your presentation into a little anecdote about a famous historical person?
  • Ask a provocative question. Ending with a question is a good way of getting your audience to think about your presentation in an interesting way. Is there a certain conclusion you want them to come to?

Step 7 Walk back to your seat with a smile.

What Is The Best Way To Start a Presentation?

Community Q&A

Community Answer

  • Have good posture. Don't cross or fold your arms, keep them open. Don't slouch and keep your back straight. [8] X Research source Thanks Helpful 1 Not Helpful 0
  • Don't forget to look at everyone, not just the floor. Don't stare at anyone in particular but 'skim' the class. Thanks Helpful 2 Not Helpful 0
  • Try not to argue with your audience. This detracts from your presentation. Just tell them they have an interesting point and that you'll check and get back to them. Thanks Helpful 2 Not Helpful 1

presentation in high school

  • Some people may be so tied up before a presentation that they feel faint and may pass out during their speech. If this describes you, make sure you prepare especially hard and keep your blood sugar up before you present. Thanks Helpful 15 Not Helpful 1
  • Don't keep your mobile phone in your pocket or it will interfere with the microphone (if any). Thanks Helpful 14 Not Helpful 6

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About This Article

Patrick Muñoz

The best way to prepare for your class presentation is to practice in front of a friend or family member. When it’s time to present, make eye contact with your audience and use hand motions to illustrate your points. Don’t forget to smile! Finish strong with a final statistic or provocative question. If you’re still nervous, read on for more advice! Did this summary help you? Yes No

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Teach your students how to understand chemical bonding and become future scientists with these designs for a chemistry lesson! The colorful slides and the visual resources will captivate your student’s attention and make them discover the true wonders of the atoms. Create single, double or even triple bonds by editing...

HS Electives Health Subject for High School - 9th Grade: Foundations of Personal Wellness presentation template

HS Electives Health Subject for High School - 9th Grade: Foundations of Personal Wellness

If you're still deciding what to choose as far as elective subjects go, how about something related to health and wellness? This slide design brings you nice visuals and a cool presentation overall. You'll have starry nights as backgrounds, WordArt text as titles and lots of different shapes (in perspective...

Winston Churchill History Lesson for High School presentation template

Winston Churchill History Lesson for High School

Download the "Winston Churchill History Lesson for High School" presentation for PowerPoint or Google Slides. High school students are approaching adulthood, and therefore, this template’s design reflects the mature nature of their education. Customize the well-defined sections, integrate multimedia and interactive elements and allow space for research or group projects—the...

HS Electives Health Subject for High School - 9th Grade: Lifetime Fitness presentation template

HS Electives Health Subject for High School - 9th Grade: Lifetime Fitness

Living a long life can be achieved by means of keeping a good diet and knowing the fundamentals of fitness and stress management, among other things. This new template can be helpful for physical education teachers who want to teach more than just sports in their classes. This template is...

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Presentation High School

  • Top Ranked CA School
  • Grades: 9-12
  • Enrollment: 550 students
  • Yearly Tuition: $27,250
  • Average class size: 22 students
  • Application Deadline: Dec. 15 / rolling
  • Source: Verified school update

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  • Pres is the right size for high schoolers to engage deeply in learning-to think big, collaborate, and dive into a variety of interests. Small by design, we know each student well, so we can provide access to many choices.
  • We show up for each other every day and encourage participation and healthy debate, creating both a variety of challenging experiences and lasting connections. Accessing all there is to offer and the best of themselves, Pres students discover what's possible.
  • During their time at Pres, students will shine as they develop what they uniquely bring to the world, guided by our culture of service and growth.
  • With a team of educators, mentors, spiritual role models, and coaches, students will grow even more into what makes them unique. One class, game, project, performance, and relationship at a time, students inspire others to follow as they shape the world around them.

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  • Sports shorts: Vision Volleyball camps at Presentation High School - Marin Independent Journal (2016) The 17th annual Del Mar girls field hockey camp for beginning players in grades 1-9 will be held on June 27-30 at Del Mar High School. The cost is $70 per player for the camp ...
  • Sports shorts: Vision Volleyball camps at Presentation High School - San Jose Mercury News (2016) The tourney, a fundraiser for the Pioneer High School Athletic Booster Club, is limited to 132 players and the entry fee is $185 per player ($165 for members of th ...

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Presentation High School

Private, Catholic, All-Girls • 9-12 • San Jose, CA

Presentation High School is a private school located in San Jose, CA. The student population of Presentation High School is 755. The school’s minority student enrollment is 54.7% and the student-teacher ratio is 13:1.

Tuition & Financial Aid

Yearly Tuition*

Financial Aid Available

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* Tuition and fees may vary depending on grade, boarding status (if applicable), and may have changed for the current school year. U.S. News and World Report began collecting tuition data in June of 2021 via the school's website.

Most private schools have application deadlines at the beginning of the calendar year. The application process changes from school to school, so contact the admissions office if you have any questions.

Considering Presentation High School?

Application Deadlines

Middle School

Jan. 19, 2023

High School

Location & Contact

2281 Plummer Ave, San Jose, CA 95125

(408) 264-1664

[email protected]

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  • Girls basketball
  • Girls cross country
  • Girls field hockey
  • Girls soccer
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75 Unique School Presentation Ideas and Topics Plus Templates

presentation in high school

Are you tired of seeing the same PowerPoints repeating overused and unoriginal school presentation ideas covering repeated topics in your classes?

You know what I’m talking about; we’ve all been there, and sat through yawn-worthy demonstrations, slides, or presentation videos covering everything from the solar system, someone’s favorite pet, past presidents of a country, to why E=mC squared.

school presentation ideas bored cat meme

From grade school to university, first graders to college students, we are obligated to create, perform, and observe academic presentations across a plethora of curriculums and classes, and not all of these public speaking opportunities fall into the category of an ‘interesting topic’.

Yet, have no fear! Here at Piktochart, we are here to help you and your classmates. From giving examples of creative and even interactive presentation ideas, providing presentation videos , and suggesting interactive activities to give your five minutes of fame the ‘wow’ factor that it deserves, this article is your guide!

Our massive collection of unique school and college presentation ideas and templates applies if you’re:

  • A teacher looking to make your class more engaging and fun with student presentations.
  • A student who wants to impress your teacher and the rest of the class with a thought-provoking, interesting topic.

A Curated List of Interesting Topics for School Presentations

Did you know that when it comes to presentations , the more students involved improves retention? The more you know! Yet sometimes, you need a little help to get the wheels moving in your head for your next school presentation .

The great thing about these ideas and topics is you can present them either in face-to-face classes or virtual learning sessions.

Each school presentation idea or topic below also comes with a template that you can use. Create a free Piktochart account to try our presentation maker and get access to the high-quality version of the templates. You can also check out our Piktochart for Education plan .

Want to watch this blog post in video format? The video below is for you!

The templates are further divided into the following categories covering the most popular and best presentation topics. Click the links below to skip to a specific section.

  • Unique science presentation topics to cultivate curiosity in class
  • Engaging culture and history presentation ideas to draw inspiration from
  • Health class presentation topics to help students make healthy lifestyle decisions
  • Data visualization ideas to help students present an overwhelming amount of data and information into clear, engaging visuals
  • First day of school activity ideas to foster classroom camaraderie
  • Communication and media topics to teach students the importance of effective communication
  • Topics to help students prepare for life after school

We hope this list will inspire you and help you nail your next school presentation activity.

Unique Science Presentation Topics to Cultivate Curiosity in Class

Science is a broad field and it’s easy to feel overwhelmed with too many topics to choose for your next presentation.

Cultivate curiosity in the science classroom with the following unique and creative presentation ideas and topics:

1. Can life survive in space?

template for can life survive in space

2. Do plants scream when they’re in pain?

template for do plants scream when they're in pain

3. What are the traits of successful inventors?

template of what are the traits of successful inventors

4. How vaccines work

template for how vaccines work

5. Massive destruction of the Koala’s habitat in Australia

template for massive destruction of the koala's habitat in australia

6. Left brain versus right brain

template for left brain vs right brain

7. What are great sources of calcium?

template for great sources of calcium infographic

8. Recycling facts you need to know

template for recycling facts you need to know

9. Do you have what it takes to be a NASA astronaut?

NASA astronaut template

10. The rise of robots and AI: Should we be afraid of them?

rise of robots template

11. How far down does the sea go?

template for how far down does the sea go

12. The stages of sleep

stages of sleep template

13. Will Mars be our home in 2028?

template for will mars be our home in 2028

14. A quick look at laboratory safety rules

template for laboratory rules

15. The first person in history to break the sound barrier

template for the first person in history to break the sound barrier

Engaging Culture and History Presentation Ideas to Draw Inspiration From

History is filled with equally inspiring and terrifying stories, and there are lessons that students can learn from the events of the past. Meanwhile, interactive presentations about culture help students learn and embrace diversity. 

16. Women in history: A conversation through time

infographic template about women in history: a conversation through time

17. The sweet story of chocolate 

visual for sweet story of chocolate 

18. A history lesson with a twist 

template for a history lesson with a twist

19. The history of basketball 

history of basketball visual template

20. The origin of the Halloween celebration 

origin of the halloween celebration template

21. AI History 

AI history template

22. What you need to know about New Zealand 

infographic template about new zealand facts

23. 1883 volcanic eruption of Krakatoa 

template for volcanic eruption of krakatoa 

24. Roman structures: 2000 years of strength

template for roman structures: 2000 years of strength

25. The most famous art heists in history 

template for the most famous art heists in history 

26. Elmo: The story behind a child icon 

template for elmo: the story behind a child icon 

27. 10 things you should know before you visit South Korea 

template for things you should know before you visit south korea 

28. 8 things you didn’t know about these 8 countries 

eight things you didn't know about these countries, template 

Health Class Presentation Topics to Help Students Make Healthy Lifestyle Decisions

Want to learn how to engage students with healthcare topic ideas? Then consider using these templates for your next interactive presentation.

According to the CDC , school-based health education contributes to the development of functional health knowledge among students. It also helps them adapt and maintain health-promoting behaviors throughout their lives. 

Not only will your presentation help with keeping students engaged, but you’ll also increase class involvement with the right slides.

The following examples of health and wellness interactive presentations include fun ideas and topics that are a good start. 

29. How to look after your mental health?

how to look after your mental health infographic template, mental health, mental health infographic, eating disorders

30. The eradication of Polio

template for the eradication of polio, healthcare infographic, healthcare infographic template

31. How to have a healthy lifestyle 

infographic template about healthy lifestyle, health infographic template

32. 10 handwashing facts 

handwashing infographic template, handwashing visual

33. Myths and facts about depression

infographic template about depression, depression infographic template, infographic on depression

34. Hacks for making fresh food last longer 

hacks for making fresh food last longer template, quarantine infographic

35. Ways to avoid spreading the coronavirus

template about how to avoid spreading the coronavirus, covid infographic

36. Mask protection in 5 simple steps 

template about mask protection, covid infographic

37. Everything you need to know about the flu

cover photo of the presentation about everything you need to know about the flu, flu infographic

38. All about stress: Prevention, tips, and how to cope 

template about stress prevention, tips, and how to cope , stress infographic

39. The importance of sleep 

template about the importance of sleep, sleep infographic

40. Is milk tea bad for you?

template about milk tea is bad for you, health infographic

41. How to boost happiness in 10 minutes

template about how to boost happiness in 10 minutes, happiness infographic

42. How dirty are debit and credit cards 

template of how dirty are debit and credit cards, credit card infographic

43. Why do you need sunscreen protection

template about sunscreen, sunscreen infographic

Data Visualization Ideas to Help Students Present Overwhelming Amounts of Data in Creative Ways

Data visualization is all about using visuals to make sense of data. Students need to pull the main points from their extensive research, and present them by story telling while being mindful of their classmates’ collective attention span.

As far as student assignments go, storytelling with data is a daunting task for students and teachers alike. To keep your audience interested, consider using a non linear presentation that presents key concepts in creative ways.

Inspire your class to be master data storytellers with the following data visualization ideas:

44. Are we slowly losing the Borneo rainforest?

deforestation infographic, template about deforestation, example of how to share about current events

45. Skateboard deck design over the years

skateboard infographic, template about skateboard deck design over the years

46. Food waste during the Super Bowl

super bowl infographic, food waste infographic, template about food waste during the super bowl

47. The weight of the tallest building in the world

building infographic, construction infographic, template about the weight of the tallest building in the world

48. Infographic about data and statistics

data infographic, statistics infographic

49. Stats about cyberbullying

template for stats about cyberbullying, cyberbullying infographic

50. How whales combat climate change

climate change infographic, template for how whales combat climate change

First Day of School Interactive Activity Ideas to Foster Whole-class-Camaraderie

Calling all teachers! Welcome your new students and start the school year with the following back-to-school creative presentation ideas and relevant templates for first-day-of-school activities.

These interactive presentations grab the attention of your students and are remarkably easy to execute (which is the main educator’s goal after all)!

51. Meet the teacher

meet the teacher template, introduction template, meet the teacher visual

52. Example: all about me

introduction infographic, about me visual template

53. Self-introduction

template about self introduction, introduction infographic, about me visual template

54. Tips on how to focus on schoolwork

template about how to productive, productivity infographic, taking notes

55. Course plan and schedule

course plan template, course plan visual, course list

Give our class schedule maker a try to access more templates for free. You can also access our presentation-maker , poster-maker , timeline-maker , and more by simply signing up .

56. Interpreting a student’s report card (for parents)

student report card template, student report card visual

57. Introduction of classroom rules

classroom rules, classroom rules template

58. Assignment schedule

course topics, assignments, course template, course infographic

59. Daily planner

daily planner template

60. Course syllabus presentation

course syllabus template

61. How to write a class presentation

template for how to create a class presentation,

Topics to Teach Students the Importance of Effective Communication

Visual media  helps students retain more of the concepts  taught in the classroom. The following media topics and infographic templates can help you showcase complex concepts in a short amount of time. 

In addition, interactive presentation activities using these templates also encourage the development of a holistic learning process in the classroom because they help focus on the  three domains of learning:  cognitive, affective, and psychomotor. 

62. Interactive presentation do’s and don’ts 

template for presentation dos and donts, presentation infographic

63. How to create an infographic 

template about how to create an infographic 

Recommended reading : How to Make an Infographic in 30 Minutes

64. How to improve your internet security and privacy

infographic template about internet privacy

65. What is design thinking?

what is design thinking infographic template

66. What are your favorite software tools to use in the classroom? 

infographic template about educational software

Presentation Topic Ideas to Help Students Prepare for Life After School

One of the things that makes teaching a rewarding career is seeing your students take the learning and knowledge you’ve instilled in them, and become successful, productive adults.

From pitching a business idea to starting your podcast, the following topics are good starting points to prepare students for the challenges after graduation (aka adulting 101):

67. How to make a resume

resume template

68. How to start a startup

how to start a startup, startup infographic, how to temple

69. Credit card vs. debit card

infographic about credit cards and debit cards, credit card infographic

70. Pros and cons of cryptocurrency

pros and cons of cryptocurrency infographic template

71. How to save on travel

ways to save on travel infographic template

72. How to do a SWOT analysis

swot nalysis infographic

73. How to pitch a business idea

business idea pitch infographic template

74. Habits of successful people

presentation template about habits of successful people

75. Starting your own podcast: A checklist

infographic template about starting your own podcast

Find out how a high school teacher like Jamie Barkin uses Piktochart to improve learning in the classroom for her students.

Pro tip: make your presentation as interactive as possible. Students have an attention span of two to three minutes per year of age. To keep minds from wandering off, include some interactive games or activities in the lesson. For example, if you conducted a lesson on the respiratory system, you could ask them to practice breathing techniques.

Maintain eye contact with your students, and you’ll get instant feedback on how interested they are in the interactive presentation.

Make School Presentation Visuals Without the Hassle of Making Them From Scratch

School presentations, when done right, can help teachers engage their classes and improve students’ education effectively by presenting information using the right presentation topic. 

If you’re pressed for time and resources to make your school presentation visuals , choose a template from Piktochart’s template gallery . Aside from the easy customization options, you can also print and download these templates to your preferred format. 

Piktochart also professional templates to create infographics , posters , brochures , reports , and more.

Creating school-focused, engaging, and interactive presentations can be tedious at first, but with a little bit of research and Piktochart’s handy templates, you’re going to do a great job!


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‘So Much Trauma’: Report Alleges Decades-Long Sexual Abuse at San Jose Catholic Girls’ School

Please try again

presentation in high school

Updated with new information on July 20th (see end of article). 

Presentation High , a Roman Catholic girls’ school in San Jose, recently released a report by a Sacramento law firm reviewing allegations of sexual abuse or misconduct over 47 years, from 1970 through 2017. The report found credible allegations against three English teachers, a Spanish teacher, a religion teacher and an assistant water polo coach — none of whom work at Presentation High today. The Mercury News reported at least three of the faculty went on to work at other Bay Area educational institutions or with students.

The high school’s Board of Directors and its new school president hired the Van Dermyden Maddux Law Firm last fall, two years after allegations of past abuse surfaced in a 2017 Washington Post perspective by a former student, Kathryn Leehane.

presentation in high school

She remembers her Spanish teacher at Presentation High teacher touching her inappropriately in 1990.

It had taken years for me to tell my story — of a gropey teacher who showed me pornography — to the police. And the well-meaning officer inadvertently confirmed what so many us who experience sexual assault have learned: We need to look elsewhere for resolution. We are on our own.

“You know, he put his arm around me. He brought my hand up to my breast. He kissed my hand,” she told KQED. Too scared to say anything at the time, she reported the teacher to school officials after she graduated in 1991; after she says, he assaulted her best friend. Leehane says she tried repeatedly to get the school to act — for a decade during her 20s. She sent letters. She met with the former head of the school, who she says “warned me to be careful with my words so as not to face a lawsuit.” Leehane says she wrote a letter to the Diocese of San Jose, but never received an answer. She eventually filed a police report, but was told the statute of limitations for criminal prosecution had run out. The teacher remained on staff for years.

Fast forward to 2017, after allegations about Harvey Weinstein emerged, launching the #MeToo movement. Leehane says her column in The Washington Post struck a nerve.

Survivors with allegations of sexual abuse or misconduct at Presentation High, called “Pres” in the community, began stepping forward. Leehane started a web site, as a launching pad for survivors to document attempts at accountability with the school and a place to find resources.

School administrators could not have failed to notice, either, when in late 2019 Gov. Gavin Newsom signed into law AB 218 , the California Child Victims Act. The law expanded the statute of limitations for civil suits arising out of childhood sexual assault, extending the time claims can be filed beyond three years of discovery or age 26, and allowing for recovery of up to treble damages — triple the damages — against certain defendants.

Advocates for survivors of childhood sexual abuse say it usually takes decades for people to come forward and tell their stories, if they ever do.

presentation in high school

Leehane keeps a spreadsheet with the names of about 40 survivors on it that she knows about. She says not everyone on her list spoke with the investigators from Van Dermyden Maddux, but the firm’s investigators did find her Spanish teacher — now dead — abused at least 13 other girls. Leehane knows of one more the report missed.

“They could have prevented so much abuse. They could have prevented so much trauma, but they let him stay there for 20 years,” she said.

Investigators interviewed 75 people, including administrators, faculty, staff, former students and board members. No current students were interviewed, according to the report, “because none have raised concerns or were witnesses.”

Presentation High received the final report on June 30. The school’s spokeswoman, Cherie Britt, wrote in an email that the administration notified both the police and “current known employers of those who were named and believed to be working with children” the same week the report was released to the public, on July 9.

Allegations Ignored for Years

Teachers, doctors, therapists and clergy all have a longstanding legal obligation to alert authorities to suspected child sexual abuse. California's mandatory reporting law makes it a crime not to.

It would be up to the District Attorney and the Attorney General — who is running an ongoing statewide investigation into reporting and allegations of abuse by clergy — to prosecute former Presentation High administrators who failed to report such allegations to law enforcement, let alone parents, according to attorney Mike Reck with Jeff Anderson & Associates . The firm has sued extensively — including the Vatican itself — on behalf of those sexually abused by clergy.

“(Presentation High) didn't suddenly grow a conscience and decide it was wrong to hurt children. Those children grew up and those children became survivors and those children spoke to the media,” Reck said.

Reck draws attention to what’s not in the report: six staff members remain unnamed, for lack of evidence, say the report’s authors. He says the report was “carefully crafted such that it only trickles out the little bit of information that was required by survivors,” adding this is a “systemic problem with the Diocese of San Jose and with the Sisters of the Presentation .” They are the Order of nuns who established not just Presentation High, but multiple schools around California, including several in the Bay Area.

Reck says the allegations of abuse against the unnamed people in the report should be thoroughly investigated for public safety. “Where do they live? What communities are they being exposed to? Have those communities been warned?”

A Lawsuit is Coming

Jeff Anderson & Associates plans to file suit against Presentation High — and the Diocese of San Jose — on behalf of a client alleging abuse by a nun at the school back in the 1970s. Reck said the firm is interested in more than the one woman. Through the process of discovery, “the identities and the whereabouts and history of every alleged perpetrator will be sought,” he said.

Meanwhile, Leehane said she is satisfied with the way the new president of the school, Holly Elkins, handled the investigation. When Presentation High made the report public, Elkins and the Chair of the Board of Directors released a letter outlining its findings, along with the changes the school is making to ensure student safety moving forward. “To the survivors of abuse, we deeply and sincerely apologize. The stark truth is that our school did not live up to its commitment to protect you,” the letter said. Additionally, the entire board of the school resigned, writing “The time is right to step aside and make room for new oversight and governance."

Update 7:00 p.m. 7/17/20: KQED contacted the Diocese of San Jose before publication of this story. The first statement, provided on 7/14, commended the Sisters of the Presentation and their high school for its independent investigation.  A spokesperson for the Diocese also wrote by email, " Please note that Presentation High School is an independent Catholic school and not part of our Diocesan schools. They have a Board of Trustees and Directors, as well as the religious order that make decisions and operate independently from the Diocese." 

New Investigation Announced (bold added) : The Diocese of San Jose sent out a second statement at 4:26 p.m. on Friday, 7/17, saying it is " disheartened to learn of the findings presented in the investigative report... In reviewing Presentation's newly released report, the Diocese has confirmed that it previously employed two of the individuals identified therein. Marian Stuckey worked for the Diocese as its Superintendent of Catholic Schools between 1993 and 2009. In addition, Jeff House worked as a teacher at Archbishop Mitty High School, a diocesan Catholic school, between 1982 and 1999. 

"The Diocese of San Jose will, therefore, be initiating an independent investigation to ensure proper accountability of any complaints, allegations, or reported incidents that may have occurred during their respective periods of employment with the Diocese." 

"The Diocese encourages any victim/survivor to come forward and report any improper conduct either historically or currently at Archbishop Mitty High School or any diocesan schools by taking the following steps: First, contact their local civil authorities. Then, once a report is filed with the local civil authorities, the individuals are encouraged to contact the Diocese's  Office for the Protection of Children & Vulnerable Adults at 408-983-0113. Reports to the Diocese are also accepted by a secure third-party reporting service at or call 1-844-372-1619. "

Update 7/20/20: The Diocese of San Jose sent out a correction about Marian Stuckey's title when she worked for the Diocese between 1993 and 2009. "She was hired as the Assistant Superintendent in 1993 and was promoted to Superintendent in 1999." 

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Gowanda holds pre-prom safety presentation

presentation in high school

Submitted Photos Bethany A. Solek, Assistant District Attorney for the Vehicular Crimes Bureau of the Erie County District Attorney’s Office, spoke about the impact of impaired driving at a pre-prom safety presentation earlier this week at Gowanda High School.

presentation in high school

All Gowanda High School students attending prom gathered Tuesday in the auditorium for an informative overview about the dangers of drunk, drugged and dangerous driving. Students were reminded about how a person’s ability to operate a vehicle safely is impaired through narcotics, hallucinogens, cannabis and other substances.

The first person to speak to the group was Gary Klumpp of the Erie County Victim Impact Panel, whose disclosure that he has been sober for a decade was met with applause from the students. A self-described “failure,” Klumpp is a two-time felon who was pulled over by police twice for driving while impaired and brought with him the bottle of vodka he had in his vehicle the last time he was apprehended by the authorities.

“Your life can change in the snap of your fingers,” Klumpp told the students, detailing the shame, family estrangements and financial difficulties that accompanied his arrests. “Please be safe and make the best choices.”

Tim Christian of the Office of the Crash Investigation Unit of the Erie County Sheriff’s Office has been a police officer for 20 years.

presentation in high school

Gowanda High School students signed their names on a poster after a pre-prom safety presentation earlier this week to pledge to be safe at prom this weekend.

“My day begins when someone else’s ends,” Christian told the students, alluding to the aftermath of the numerous fatal accidents he has overseen and detailing what a crash response looks like.

Christian recommended the students act responsibly and “just be smart” when making decisions about their personal safety.

“I can’t stand going to a parent’s house,” he said. “It is the worst when they drop to the floor” after he tells them their child is dead.

Suggestions for how to stay safe when drinking also include planning a safe way home in advance and never driving after drinking, designating a sober driver, using a taxi or ride share service or public transportation, and always wearing a seat belt.

Bethany A. Solek, Assistant District Attorney for the Vehicular Crimes Bureau of the Erie County District Attorney’s Office, spoke about the impact of impaired driving. She suggested students always have a plan or excuse for why they aren’t drinking: They are on medication, they have to wake up early for work, they are using a borrowed car, etc.

Solek also discussed some of New York State’s most egregious impaired driving offenders and the severe consequences for their bad behavior including long prison sentences.

“No time will ever be enough and the family (of the deceased) will live that nightmare for the rest of their lives,” said Solek.

All attendees of the pre-prom safety presentation were welcome to sign a “We promise to drive and act responsibly at prom” pledge.

The pre-prom presentation was facilitated by GHS staff including school social worker Miranda Hirschman, school counselor Jen Mattimore, teacher and SADD advisor Shannon Styles, technology integrator Ed Bugenhagen, Assistant Principal David Smith and Principal Rebekah Moraites.

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Sheboygan south high students to honor hmong veterans, culture with community presentation.

SHEBOYGAN — The Hmong Student Organization at South High will host its first event to honor Hmong veterans and celebrate Hmong culture and history next week.

The Hmong Veterans Day Presentation will be held on Hmong-Lao Veterans Day May 14, which Gov. Tony Evers designated in 2021 as a way to honor and recognize the Hmong veterans who contributed to the U.S. military efforts in the Secret War. The CIA recruited Hmong people in neighboring Laos to fight Communist forces during the Vietnam War.

The presentation will not only honor Hmong veterans but explore other effects of the Secret War, like the impact on Hmong civilians who were displaced and separated from their families as they fled. Some estimates put the number of Hmong people who came to the U.S. from this conflict at the tens to hundreds of thousands.

This will be the larger context of a play HSO wrote for the presentation, following two families as they flee to the U.S. and adjust to living in a new place.

Though the play is fictional, HSO co-president and South senior Kelsie Vang said this is a story experienced by many Hmong families.

Vang said Hmong families may wonder “what could’ve been" if they stayed with their families in Laos. “But they were separated and moved to America. It's such a true story," she said.

Autumn Lee, HSO co-president and South senior, said the play could give the older Hmong generation more visibility, too, by sharing a story that could resemble their own.

Amanda Xiong, HSO public relations chairperson and South senior, said she wants students at South High to understand what Hmong people experienced during the Secret War.

“That's not hugely covered in the social studies class,” Xiong said. “From this, I just want them to learn about Hmong culture and how Hmong people came to America, because even though there's a huge Hmong student (population) here, a lot of people still don't really know how they came to the United States and what they contributed to the war.”

Sheboygan County has the fourth largest population of Hmong people in the state. Hmong people also account for more than 70% of the Asian American population in Sheboygan.

“I really hope that the South High community and the community as a whole learns about Hmong culture because it is a fascinating culture,” HSO adviser and South special education teacher Randall McAdoo said. “I hope that we are able to continue this tradition.”

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The presentation will feature a Hmong veteran guest speaker, play about the Secret War and more.

Images of Hmong people will be displayed as attendees arrive to the event, some depicting stages of them fleeing to the U.S.

The hour-long presentation will open with an introduction from McAdoo. The presentation guest speaker, Hmong Veteran Shua Yang, who was a First Sargeant in the U.S. Army’s military intelligence division, will follow.

After that, there will be an interactive Hmong language learning portion, a play called “Meet Me Under the Mango Tree” and a dance from the HSO Dance Team.

Contact HSO adviser to reserve a seat for the Hmong Veteran Presentation.

The Hmong Veterans Day Presentation will be at in the auditorium at South High School, 1240 Washington Ave., from 10:45 a.m. to 11:45 a.m. It is open to the public and the South High community. A limited number of seats are available. Contact Randall McAdoo at [email protected] to reserve a seat.

Have a story tip? Contact Alex Garner at 224-374-2332 or [email protected] . Follow her on X (formerly Twitter) at @alexx_garner .

This article originally appeared on Sheboygan Press: Sheboygan South Hmong Student Organization to host Hmong veteran event

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'Reclaiming your ... soul': Ministry's mental health talk in Alpena schools under scrutiny

presentation in high school

A child's open-eyed gaze, a floating human brain and a swirl of social media logos on a flyer for a public school event caught Molly Stepanski's attention. But it was the fine print that brought her up short: "Reclaiming Your Human Soul from the Digital Dark Age."

Stepanski, a parent in Alpena Public Schools, read further to the bottom of the promotion for "The Media Mind," a presentation by Scott Ritsema, head of a fundamentalist religious organization called Belt of Truth Ministries, and learned the free talk is being given inside Alpena High School's auditorium this coming week.

More: Mental health talk by ministry leader at Alpena high school cancelled due to illness

Stepanski said she sees red flags and has asked the superintendent and school board how they are maintaining religious neutrality and inclusivity within a public educational environment when the district is hosting what she calls a "religiously motivated" event on school grounds.

"I am thinking about kids who don’t believe in God and how does this further this message that they can help you reclaim your soul?" Stepanski said.

District officials are defending the upcoming talk, vowing it is non-religious and essential to addressing the increased levels of anxiety and depression experienced by students as they become more dependent on social media use.

"This is not a religious presentation in any way, shape or form," said David Rabbideau, superintendent of schools. "This man is a Christian, as we are fully entitled to do in this society. People are operating under this impression that because of his life outside as a religious person, that the presentation will be religious. That is false."

Alpena's school president agreed.

"We have received more positive feedback than negative (for this talk), and people are thankful we are trying to bring awareness to the dangers of social media and screen time," President Anna Meinhardt said. "Anything we can do to reach more families is important."

One legal expert said the Michigan school district — located in a predominately White and Christian area of the state — is walking a fine legal line just inside what is allowed under the First Amendment when it comes to a religiously neutral environment.

Brad Banasick, legal counsel for the Michigan Association of School Boards, said the talk is being given after school hours, is not for credit and is not an assembly or a graduation.

"There isn’t a coercive aspect in that students are being forced to participate in a religious activity," Banasick said. "You can't assume that because the person is a minister or a preacher that it is a religious event. Once you are there and once you hear it and you think the line has been crossed, you can file a complaint that this time."

Officials with the American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan declined to comment.

What the ministry promotes

The optional May 7 presentation on school grounds is one of seven events in May held by the district to help families address the youth mental health crisis related to social media use. Rabbideau said the talk is meant for adults in the community, not children. He has viewed the slides for the talk and viewed video clips of the presentation and said it contains no religious references.

"His title has the word soul in it. Yes, I get it. People want to make that connection," Rabbideau said. "He was very clear and has been very clear with me that this is not a chance for him to preach. It's a discussion on social media."

The Belt of Truth Ministry's website describes itself as "a fundamental Bible-believing faith-based community." The site says Ritsema began the ministry, based in the Montcalm County community of Lakeview, in 2013 "to lead others to Jesus — not as a career, but as a calling." Since then, the Belt of Truth has developed "a community of believers interested in pursuing the present truths for the prophetic times in which we live," the site says.

Ritsema, who is also an author and sells CDs and DVDs of his presentation, has several online Biblical presentations including "A Greater Lust: Your Brain on Pornography" and "SCHOOLED: The Deliberate Agenda to Destroy Individuality, Reduce Intelligence and Re-Engineer Society."

In the presentation on pornography addiction, he blames witchcraft and the devil. In the video on schooling, he says, "Do you think Satan wants children and you thinking?" and says to accomplish the goals of modern education, "the family must be destroyed." Some of his online videos show him advising people that the only way to reclaim the soul is through God.

Ritsema did not respond to multiple requests for comment.

In a Facebook post, Ritsema says he has "never brought religious content into my public sector messages. Not once. In fact, I taught for years in the classroom against doing just that," he wrote, adding that the "usual flyer" had all of the religious emblems and words removed as a special version made for the school district event. He also says “soul” has strictly non-religious meaning.

Mobile device policy conflicts

Rabbideau said the district was examining its mobile device policies last year and had scheduled the minister to speak on the topic last fall but due to a scheduling conflict moved it to the spring.

Just this school year, Alpena Public Schools changed the policy to ban mobile devices at the junior high during the school day except for lunch. At the high school, devices can be viewed during class exchanges in the hallways or at lunch.

The students have pushed back with several dozen devices being confiscated at the high school and some at the junior high, Rabbideau said. Students are warned first and then a parent has to come pick up the device after a repeat offense.

"The stress, anxiety. We are certainly seeing an increase in that. A big focus is taking care of our students and how you get out of that cycle," Rabbideau said. "We are dealing with bullying on social media. That is a tough one for us. The school district is not empowered to deal with bullying outside school on social media. ... I wish we had more tools."

Ritsema is not being paid and no taxpayer money is being used for the event, which is expected to last less than an hour in the school district of 3,715 students.

Critics: Co-opting mental health issue

Still, Sara Grochowski, a district resident concerned about the talk, said Ritsema's faith and his proselytizing are what he is known for online and on social media itself.

"He seems like a grifter that is co-opting the mental health movement to get into a school," Grochowski said.

Diane Bauer, a resident within Alpena Public Schools, said she was shocked by the district's decision to allow Ritsema to speak at a school event, saying he lacks the qualifications to be advising families on mental health issues.

Bauer, a retired registered nurse, argued that the district should be using a mental health professional to deliver a message on how to help parents and community member learn how to improve the mental well-being of children.

"It is supposed to be about mental health awareness week and I know families are struggling," Bauer said. "I want parents to have local access to resources and all this guy has to offer is mission-driven resources."

Official: 'Pick and choose what appeals'

Meinhardt, the school board president, said neither Ritsema nor the other speakers who are part of the district's mental health programming for May are being held up as experts.

"They are all a variety of speakers, and you can pick and choose what appeals to you and what does not," Meinhardt said.

The board president said she will attend the presentation and has purchased some of Ritsema's books .

"I speak for the board and each member may not share Mr. Ritsema's religious views, but we are all greatly concerned about the mental health of our students and the role social media plays in that," said Meinhardt, who has two teenage sons who attend the district.

Deborah Gordon, a First Amendment attorney in Bloomfield Hills, said the U.S. Supreme Court has already ruled that public school districts can host religious groups and give them the same kind of access they give other groups.

Yet the promotional flyer posted on the district's Facebook page is concerning, Gordon said.

"I don’t think there is anything illegal about using the school building itself, but it doesn't sound like the school district should be advertising or promoting this event," Gordon said. "It’s a website that goes to families directly. It's questionable, but I don't think it rises to a constitutional violation."

But the lawyer said she understands parents' concerns and thinks they should speak up and get answers to their questions.

"All you can do is make your voice heard," Gordon said.

Banasik, who advises hundreds of school board across the state for the Michigan Association of School Boards, said social media does play a huge role in student mental health, which he said is being illustrated through a class action lawsuit against several social media companies by the nation's largest school district, New York City.

Asked about the use of the word "soul" in the promotional materials, he said the word alone would not create a constitutional violation.

"Even if it did have religious content, I’m not sure it would cross the line. It is a completely voluntary event," Banasik said. "We know a school district can't coerce students into being part of a religious activity or practice."

After a 2022 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that upheld the right of a public school football coach to offer a prayer on the 50-yard line after a game, Bansik said it's hard to know where the line is now with the First Amendment's Establishment Clause.

The American Civil Liberties Union and the ACLU of Washington  filed  a Supreme Court amicus brief in the case ,  arguing that the football coach’s prayers, which he delivered while on duty, are not protected by the Free Speech Clause and that the school district had a constitutional duty to stop his practice because it violated the separation of church and state. 

"We are just waiting for cases to develop and case law on this," Banasik said. "It’s a difficult test the court has put into our hands."

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What Senior Year Looks Like at BASIS Charter Schools

Senior year at BASIS Charter Schools is part of what makes our school experience so unique. Due to the accelerated nature of our high school curriculum , most of our students meet the state requirements for graduation by the time they complete grade 11. However, the majority of students choose to continue into grade 12 to take advantage of our advanced study opportunities.

At BASIS Charter Schools, our school calendars are split into trimesters. During the first and second trimesters of their senior year, BASIS Charter School seniors focus on completing capstone courses and applying to colleges. During the third trimester, our seniors are off campus completing Senior Projects .

Let’s take a closer look at the senior year structure at BASIS Charter Schools!

First and second trimesters

Capstone courses.

BASIS Charter School seniors take capstone courses in humanities, math, science and foreign language. These capstone courses are post-AP courses designed to emulate the experience of a college classroom. They feature independent research, lab work and seminar-style discussion.

From anatomy to game theory to French philosophy, capstone courses are a great way for students to dive deep into a particular area of study. Specific course topics vary from year to year and from school to school.

Mario Z., BASIS Prescott graduate, says the advanced courses he took during his senior year were one of his favorite parts of attending BASIS. “At a lot of other schools, you wouldn’t be able to take these types of rigorous classes. BASIS really facilitates advanced study for seniors and encourages students to make the most of their time.”

Daily meetings with college counselors

A daily College Counseling Seminar is built into our senior year curriculum. During this daily seminar, seniors learn about different universities, explore potential career paths and research scholarship opportunities. They work one-on-one with College Guidance Coordinators to prepare college applications and navigate the financial aid process.

Our dedicated College Guidance Coordinators work hard to ensure that all students find the school that is the best fit for them. They facilitate campus visits, host events with university admissions representatives, and provide students with support and resources as they apply to schools.

Blog Graphic - Senior Year at BASIS - college counseling

Preparing for Senior Projects

One of the most unique aspects of our Senior Program are our student-designed Senior Projects . These projects consist of high-level, off-campus research aligning with students’ individual interests. Senior Projects give students an opportunity to develop a deep content knowledge and make a real and direct impact on their field of study.

Students who choose to complete a Senior Project begin preparing for the experience in the first and second trimesters of their senior year. During this time, they’ll choose a topic, write proposals and secure internships. They will also choose a BASIS Charter School faculty member to act as their advisor.

Shraddha D., BASIS Peoria graduate, says her teachers played a large role in helping her determine the focus of her Senior Project. “Through conversations with my teachers, I was able to better understand my interests,” she says. “My school enabled me to further those interests and make deeper connections.”

Celebrating the last day of school with Grad Walk

Since the third trimester of senior year is dedicated to off-campus Senior Projects, our seniors’ last day on campus typically falls in February or early March. To celebrate, many of the schools in our network host a “Grad Walk” event for seniors.

During the Grad Walk, seniors dress up in their caps and gowns and walk through the halls of their school while faculty, staff and students from lower grades cheer them on. It’s an exciting day where seniors get to celebrate their accomplishments while surrounded by their peers.

“The Grad Walk is really cool. It’s like an early graduation with all of your classmates,” says Mona S., BASIS Scottsdale graduate. “I started at BASIS in fifth grade, so it’s something that I got to see happen every year. Participating in the Grad Walk myself was a full-circle moment for me.”

Blog Graphic - Senior Year at BASIS - grad walk

Third trimester

Completing off-campus senior projects.

The BASIS Charter School Senior Project is a 10-week project consisting of high-level, off-campus research on an approved topic. Students spend an estimated 15 hours per week working on their Senior Projects. They perform research, analyze their findings and meet frequently with their mentors. Additionally, students are required to publish a blog post each week that documents their progress.

The day-to-day experience of completing a Senior Project looks different for every student. If a student is interning at a medical center, their day might include shadowing medical professionals and compiling health data. If a student is interning with the history department at their local university, they might spend most of their time diving into the university’s archives to uncover past research. Since students get to design their own projects, there is a lot of variation in the Senior Project experience!

BASIS Peoria graduate Shraddha D. encourages future BASIS Charter Schools to make the most of their Senior Projects. “Make sure you’re pursuing something you really want to learn more about,” she says. “You can get very creative with your project, so explore your ideas and think about what topic you want to understand further.”

Senior Project presentations

To round out the third trimester, our seniors return to campus to present their Senior Projects. They share an overview of their findings and discuss how their research could impact their field of study.

Senior Project presentation nights are an exciting time for our seniors, as it marks the end of all of their hard work! These presentation nights are attended by faculty, staff, families and fellow students.

Blog Graphic - Senior Year at BASIS - senior projects

Shortly after completing their Senior Projects, our seniors officially graduate! Families are invited to join us for our commencement ceremonies, where we celebrate our seniors’ accomplishments and award them their diplomas. These ceremonies typically include addresses from students, faculty and guest speakers.

By the time they graduate, our seniors have completed a minimum of six AP courses. They’ve also completed post-AP work in the form of capstone courses and Senior Projects. All in all, BASIS Charter School seniors master content that is significantly more advanced than what is typically taught in high school. Graduation is when we get to recognize them for their incredible achievements!

Students who earn a B or higher in each of their capstone courses earn a BASIS Diploma with Honors, while students who meet these requirements and successfully complete a Senior Project earn a BASIS Diploma with High Honors.

Blog Graphic - Senior Year at BASIS - graduation

Want to learn more about high school at BASIS Charter Schools? Year after year, BASIS Charter Schools are ranked among the best high schools in the nation , per U.S. News & World Report . Schedule a tour at a campus near you to see our curriculum in action. We look forward to welcoming you and answering your questions.

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Sweeping school voucher, public education overhaul in Tennessee passes first House hurdle

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After less than two hours of presentation and debate, a statewide universal school choice proposal that includes sweeping changes to Tennessee’s public school system cleared its first House committee hurdle on Tuesday evening. 

Members of the House K-12 Education Subcommittee gave first approval to the bill less than 36 hours after a 39-page omnibus amendment to Gov. Bill Lee’s school choice proposal became public. 

In addition to establishing a program to provide 20,000 state-funded vouchers for students to attend private schools, provided they take certain tests, the wide-ranging amendment filed Monday would overhaul Tennessee's standardized testing requirements for public school students , make sweeping changes to teacher and principal accountability procedures, and shut down the state’s Achievement School District by 2026 . 

Despite testimony from Education Commissioner Lizzette Reynolds in support of the bill, there was little discussion of many of the details on Monday, such as changes to teacher and principal performance evaluation s, changes to state testing requirements and no mention of the Achievement School District. 

Bill sponsor Rep. Mark White, R-Memphis, who chairs the full House education committee, was limited under a new House rule to just 5 minutes for his initial presentation of the 39-page proposal. He offered more details during questioning.

“The primary reason we’re here is that we are continuing to offer our parents across the state of Tennessee choice when and where they need it,” White said. “Giving parents a choice in their child’s education – all across their child’s growing up – is most important.” 

Several members on the committee expressed concern that they had not had sufficient time to review the legislation — having received it late Monday, after the committee’s amendment filing deadline had passed. 

“I need to vet this,” Rep. Sam McKenzie, D-Knoxville, told the committee. “We got this amendment dropped on us.” 

Two hours of presentation, testimony and debate unfolded in a crowded committee room. Spectators held signs with messages like “public funds for public schools,” and “1M TN Students > voucher scam.” One woman sat strategically behind the podium and scribbled messages to lawmakers on a makeshift notebook held as a sign.

“...Or we could just fully fund public education?” one read. 

“What happened to standards and accountability???” came another. “Just double standards!”

After extensive questions from McKenzie — the lone Democrat on the committee — and Rep. Todd Warner, R-Chapel Hill — a vocal opponent of state-funded vouchers — the committee approved the measure on a 6-2 vote. Rep. Bryan Richey, R-Maryville, and Rep. Chris Hurt, R-Crockett County, voted present.

'Ram it through'

Members of the committee said they had little time to digest the omnibus amendment before sitting down to discuss and vote. Richey, McKenzie, and Warner all said they’d received the bill text for the first time on Monday. 

“I didn’t have any time to submit one amendment because the deadline was at 10 a.m., and I think this dropped at 9:59 and 59 seconds,” Richey said. 

“In principle, I’m in favor of this, but there’s some bad language in this bill that needs to be cleaned up,” Richey said.

Warner requested the committee roll the bill one week so that members all would have a chance to read and draft proposed amendments to the sweeping legislation.

With only six or seven weeks of the legislative session to go before adjournment is anticipated, time is of the essence. The motion failed on a 6-4 vote.

"I had heard about the bill all the way back in October, when the governor's office came and sat down — I'd heard this is what we're looking at doing," Richey said. "Very little of what I had heard is actually even in this bill."

“It must be nice that we have three of the members that sit on this committee that got to actually sit down and figure out what's in here,” Richey said. “And because it's such a contentious bill moving forward, we even invited an additional member to come in and sit down and make sure we have the votes to ram it through.”

Speaker Pro Tem Pat Marsh, R-Fayetteville, who does not sit on the subcommittee, was present and voted – as the House rules allow both the speaker and speaker pro tem to sit on any committee. 

'Strategic changes to public education'

During the hearing, White highlighted the goals of the legislation to lower the number of tests required in public schools in an effort to “return more hours to the classroom,” and save school districts a total of $200 million by increasing the state-paid share of teacher health plans. 

“We have been listening and are trying to address the needs of our public schools,” White said. 

White was joined in his presentation by Education Instruction Subcommittee Chair Scott Cepicky, R-Culleoka, who said the House version of the Education Freedom Scholarships proposal puts “caps on growth so that it grows sensibly.” 

While a fiscal note for the legislation released on Tuesday found the total cost of the legislation to be nearly $400 million in the first year, Cepicky said only about $140 million of that total would go to the voucher program – the rest would fund “the strategic changes to public education,” to help equip public schools “to compete on a level playing field with private schools.” 

Private schools participating in the Education Freedom Scholarships program would be required to have operated in the state for at least the last three years.

“We were adamant in the drafting of this bill that we not have pop-up schools,” White said. 

Participants in the program would be subject to the same testing requirements as public school students (which the bill overhauls). Under the House proposal as amended, the private school testing data would be reported by grade band to “a third party buffer” before being ultimately reported to the state Department of Education. 

Debate tense out of the gate

From the beginning, debate on the subject of the bill was emphatic and tense. 

“I don’t think anyone here is against school choice or parent choice or whatnot – I’m against the government paying for it,” Warner told members.

Warner said the state’s Constitutional requirement to operate a free system of public schools. 

“Any school that accepts public funding is — without doubt — a public school,” Warner said, prompting murmurs and claps of assent from the audience. Warner then asked White if he considered any private school that accepted public funds through the program a public school. 

“Absolutely not,” White replied.

McKenzie and Hurt both noted lackluster achievement results among participants in the state’s current school choice program, known as Education Savings Accounts.

“I struggle with expanding the program in anticipation,” Hurt told the committee. 

Cepicky argued that students coming out of a failing public school are already “so far behind.” 

“That academic rigor would be new to them. It might set them back a little bit until they could get up to speed,” Cepicky said. “What we’re really looking forward to is the second year of the voucher program. … We’re going to see those educational outcomes take off.” 

“One of our number one complaints from our teachers in the public school system is that we continue to evaluate, such as, a sixth-grade teacher on the performance of their students. Their No. 1 complaint is ‘why are you holding me accountable for my sixth-grade students when three-quarters of the classroom is still reading on a third-grade level?’”

Later, during her testimony Reynolds, the education commissioner, noted that only 53% of current voucher participants ever attended a Tennessee public school. Of those, the vast majority (36.5%) of participants were grandfathered in as they were eligible for the program before lawsuits challenging its constitutionality were filed, another 15.8% started kindergarten in a private school through the ESA program and a little over 1% had just moved in the state.

‘This proposal endangers public schools’

Three witnesses gave testimony to the committee on Monday. On behalf of the Tennessee Education Association, Drew Sutton asked members to oppose the measure, citing below-average achievement of students in the state’s existing school choice program, and saying that the proposed new program would create two separate systems of education in Tennessee. 

“ Public schools are the foundation of every community,” Sutton said. “This proposal endangers those public schools and the communities they serve.”

Clay County teacher Amy Briggs testified against the bill.

"School choice is a myth," she said. "It removes choice and freedom for parents."

Speaking on behalf of homeschoolers in the state, Tiffany Boyd said homeschoolers registered with Category 4 church-related umbrella schools are “adamantly opposed” to the bill. 

“School choice does not create competition. There is no school choice when all of the choices are government-controlled,” Boyd said. “We do not want government money. We want the government out of our homes.”

In response, White noted that as amended, “homeschoolers are totally written out of this bill.”

Reynolds ‘encouraged by the spirit of the bill’

Reynolds testified in support of the governor’s bill, touting parent satisfaction with the state’s current voucher program, which is limited to Davidson, Shelby and Hamilton counties. 

“It is a program that parents have chosen,” Reynolds said, noting that 99% of participating parents have said they are “very satisfied” with the program, and 91% said they are satisfied with their child’s academic growth. 

Reynolds told members she is “very encouraged by the spirit of this bill” as it includes “provisions that are going to allow our families to have choices.” But she did not weigh in on specifics in the House version on changes to teacher accountability, testing requirements or the ASD. 

Reynolds argued that private schools already have built-in accountability measures, such as “rigorous testing protocols and requirements.” 

“At the end of the day, they are accountable to their families as to whether students are achieving,” Reynolds said. “If enough families are not satisfied with the program, the school can go out of business.” 

In response to questions from Warner, Reynolds confirmed that students would be required to be U.S. citizens with a Social Security number to participate in the new school choice program. 

“Is the state going to ask the question, ‘Are these children illegals’ or not?” Warner asked. 

“They are eligible under this bill if they are a U.S. citizen,” she answered. 

“Students who aren’t achieving, and who are not happy and whose parents are not happy with their education should have an opportunity to get an education elsewhere,” Reynolds said. “That’s what this bill is about.”

How committee members voted

  • Rep. Gino Bulso, R-Brentwood - Yes
  • Rep. Sam McKenzie, D-Knoxville - No
  • Rep. Bryan Richey, R-Maryville – Present
  • Rep. William Slater, R-Gallatin- Yes
  • Rep. Robert Stevens, R-Smyrna - Yes
  • Rep. Todd Warner, R-Chapel Hill - No
  • Rep. Chris Hurt, R-Crocket County- Present
  • Rep. Mark White, R-Germantown - Yes
  • Rep. Kirk Haston, R-Lobelville - Yes
  • Speaker Pro Tem Pat Marsh, R-Fayetteville - Yes

Vivian Jones covers state government and politics for The Tennessean. Reach her at [email protected]

Opinion: Salt Lake City School District’s restroom presentation harms students. As nonbinary and transgender educators, we see the damage.

The directive to give presentations in every single classroom created widespread harm and put educators in precarious positions to balance their “professionalism” with their humanity..

(Rick Bowmer | AP) Bonneville Elementary School 5th grader Graham Beeton, waves to fellow students during a block party supporting trans and non binary students and staff Monday, April 29, 2024, in Salt Lake City. Utah will become the latest state to implement restrictions for transgender people using school bathrooms and locker rooms in public schools and government-owned buildings when key components of a law passed by the Republican controlled Legislature take effect May 1.

On May 1, HB 257 went into effect in K-12 public schools. But for us, transgender and nonbinary educators in the Salt Lake City School District, the effect has been felt for weeks. We feel compelled to speak as private citizens, not as representatives of the district or the schools we work in, due to the impact on our queer and transgender community in Salt Lake City.

We chose to work in this district specifically because of its commitment to equity. Salt Lake City School District (SLCSD) has a vision statement that reads “Excellence and Equity: every student, every classroom, every day” in addition to being the first “ Dignity District ” nationwide, with the commitment “to learning and work environments where everyone is treated with dignity.” Yet, SLCSD’s directive to have teachers give classroom presentations about HB 257 undermines its own commitment to dignity and equity, resulting in direct harm to transgender students, educators and their allies.

SLCSD created presentations for grades K-5 and 6-12 which stated that “new legislation requires us” to tell students they needed to use the bathroom of the gender they were assigned at birth. In the creation of these presentations , SLCSD failed to recognize the impact this would have on teachers, counselors, administrators and psychologists who were left with no support or resources to honor our own dignity. While the district’s recent newsletter stated that it would “remain committed to making sure our schools remain safe, welcoming places for all our students, families, and staff,” we were not provided with adequate means of support to do so.

Instead, we as transgender and nonbinary educators took on the labor to answer questions from coworkers on how to best support our students. With no district acknowledgment of the pain it caused us, transgender and nonbinary educators were also expected to give this presentation to our students, directly harming them and betraying our community when we know exactly what the implications are — 56% of transgender and nonbinary youth in Utah seriously considered suicide in 2022 . The district did not recognize this potential for harm in any communications to faculty, staff or families.

We took it upon ourselves to create our own presentations filled with local and national resources, support systems and hotlines, crafted for both secondary and elementary communities — the resources to help fellow educators support impacted students and families that our district should have created. We shared these with the educators we could within our reach. Subsequently, we watched as some of our students’ fiercest allies and our schools’ kindest hearts experienced the chilling effect of the presentation: Pride flags, safe school posters and pronoun pins were fearfully stowed away. We continue to question: How does this make our district safe and welcoming?

In secondary schools, regardless of their gender identity, students questioned why this was the action the district decided to take when their friends in other districts were not subject to the same trauma and harm. Several stated they would rather the district make a presentation about vaping, drug use and truancy in the bathrooms instead — and stop targeting their trans and nonbinary peers. At the elementary level, young trans and nonbinary students already struggle to get peers and teachers to acknowledge and understand their identities. Many aren’t even “out,” choosing to be accepted simply for who they are without a label that could subject them to interrogation. Coupling this reality with the introduction of HB 257 means we have students of all ages, K-12, who had their right to use the bathroom become subject to classroom discussion.

We recognize that SLCSD needs to ensure they comply with state law and the specific directives of HB 257. However, the directive to give presentations in every single classroom created widespread harm and put educators in precarious positions to balance their “professionalism” with their humanity. SLCSD did not provide justification for choosing to present the presentations over the methods other districts in our state used to notify students of HB 257.

We call for SLCSD to recognize the impact that it had on transgender, nonbinary and allied educators, students, staff and administrators. The effects of this erasure by the district were unnecessary, undignified and dehumanizing. The presentations did not give us reason to believe our district’s stated values and vision statement.

Additionally, we need actionable, tangible changes to create safe, equitable and dignified environments for everyone who works and learns in SLCSD. We ask the district to contract a professional development session on LGBTQIA+ inclusion, preferably through a local organization. We also ask that SLCSD conduct a thorough audit of their policies in the wake of new federal Title IX guidance which states that sex-separated programs and activities, including bathrooms, cannot exclude a person from a space consistent with their gender identity.

We have seen displays of love and support for transgender and nonbinary students and staff both in and out of our buildings and recognize its positive impact. We hope that SCLSD can join in these displays and that these actions will hopefully ensure that our district’s transgender and nonbinary community never feels this way again.

(Photo courtesy of Rilee Pickle) Rilee Pickle

Mx. Rilee Pickle, MAT (they/she), is a high school teacher in Salt Lake City School District and a nonbinary lesbian. However, they wrote this as a private citizen and do not represent the district or the school they teach at.

(Photo courtesy of Breanna Taylor-Lof) Breanna Taylor-Lof

Mx. Breanna Taylor-Lof, M.Ed (they/them), is a transgender elementary school teacher in Salt Lake City School District. However, they wrote this as a private citizen and do not represent the district or the school they teach at.

The Salt Lake Tribune is committed to creating a space where Utahns can share ideas, perspectives and solutions that move our state forward. We rely on your insight to do this. Find out how to share your opinion here , and email us at [email protected] .

Donate to the newsroom now. The Salt Lake Tribune, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) public charity and contributions are tax deductible


Opinion: utah’s new anti-trans bill is so much bigger than just bathrooms, opinion: utah’s transgender community is tired of being socially, medically and legally erased, opinion: as a pediatrician, i know how dangerous utah’s bathroom bill is for transgender youth, opinion: we’re still suffering the mighty consequences of utah’s ‘mighty 5’ campaign, utah launches all-out push to build thousands of new ‘starter homes’ that you might be able to afford, close friends, competing for coveted olympic spots. who would make it, an acclaimed new york jazz musician has been living quietly in utah for decades. now, he’s ready to make noise again., photos: kilby court block party brings music and fans from all over to utah, gordon monson: the national image of utah football it will rule and reign over the big 12 in its first year., featured local savings.

Drag performance at Sutton school event brings uproar, call for audit

presentation in high school

SUTTON ― The School Committee on Thursday called for an independent financial audit into the Connections Conference , an annual event at Sutton High School that focuses on social justice, following concerns over a session in which a drag performer danced and sang on top of a table.

The committee passed a motion after a tense four-hour special hearing on Thursday evening at the school auditorium, where dozens of people directed comments at Sutton Memorial High School Principal Edward McCarthy and the five-member school board.

John Sullivan, who said he has three children in the Sutton school system, said that he “was not happy with the direction our schools have been going on,” referencing the Connections Conference.

“I understand there are several touchy social issues in the world today … these social issues can be taught in a way where we're not going to the extreme ends of the spectrum,” Sullivan said. “I've never pushed my kids on my opinions or my beliefs. … I will not accept they go to school and have the beliefs of others pushed upon them or be made to feel they're wrong if they disagree.

“These are my kids, not yours.”

Officers of the Sutton Police Department were present at the meeting. McCarthy said that following this year’s conference on March 15 , at least two bomb threats were made to the school, and death threats were directed at school officials, including McCarthy.

The School Committee had planned to address the conference at its regularly scheduled meeting Monday, but the hearing was pushed to Thursday when the virtual portion of the meeting crashed due to high attendance.

At the beginning of the meeting on Thursday, McCarthy emphasized the benefits of the Connections Conference, while also apologizing to those in attendance, acknowledging that “three minutes of that presentation went a little bit too far."

“To paint an entire conference, an entire group, an entire community because three minutes went a little beyond what we expected does a disservice to all the work that they do,” said McCarthy. “Those people donate their time, their energy to people who are in danger, people who are ostracized and often have nobody else.”

The student-run Connections Conference held its fifth event this year, hosting 615 students from 56 high schools across New England. It was held on a professional development day, when classes were closed at the high school.

Workshops included a meet-and-greet with Cynthia Smith, a New York Times bestselling children’s author; and trans youth activist Kai Shappley.

One of the workshops also included an event by Pride Worcester that featured a drag performer, according to different sources, with humor and singing as part of the act.

Attempts to reach Pride Worcester were not immediately successful.

In an interview Friday, McCarthy reiterated that certain aspects of the performance during the Pride Worcester workshop were “not necessarily appropriate for a workshop,” adding that the drag performer did a cartwheel during the performance.

“But do I think that there's anything wrong with drag? Absolutely not,” said McCarthy. “They’re an important part of the LGBTQ+ community. The work that those guys do, I think, is just very powerful in our community.”

For the better part of the hearing on Thursday, which kicked off at 7:30 p.m., the board opened a public discussion, during which each speaker was limited to three minutes at the microphone.

“I’m not worried that my kids seeing a drag queen is going to make them gay,” said Jen Heck, a Sutton resident, “just like I’m not worried about my kids seeing someone with a gun is going to make them a killer, or seeing someone with a doughnut is going to make them fat.”

Lindsay Wilk, a resident of Sutton, also showed support for Connections Conference.

“I’ve attended the conference three times, and it’s always been a very energized day and wonderful for our students,” said Wilk. “These programs help to teach our kids that there are not acceptable things to be saying at school or anyplace else.

“Connections is not perfect, but it’s something.”

Some conference supporters in attendance wore shirts with the workshop’s logo. When approached by a reporter, they refused to comment and asked the reporter to leave the auditorium.

Jennifer Day-DeMora, a resident of Sutton, said she felt the school system was “developing a culture of fear, distrust, divisiveness and confusion."

“Students are now questioning everything they've been taught by parents, and not in a way that allows them to be critical thinkers,” said DeMora.

The School Committee closed the public discussion around 10:30 p.m., following with a motion for a financial audit into the Connections Conference, at the request of many residents who spoke at the meeting on Thursday.

When asked after the meeting about the audit, McCarthy said the conference is financed by private donations.

“I hope that people have their questions answered,” said McCarthy.


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