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Three Forks Schools host Student Leadership Workshop

In a partnership with Montana Superintendent Elsie Arntzen and author and President of Canvas Creek Team Building Karen Grosz, Three Forks High School students participated in a Student Leadership Workshop last week.

Three Forks was one of five school districts selected to participate in the workshops with the theme "Figure it Out."

"Our children are the future of our great state," said Superintendent Elsie Arntzen. "These workshops will create strong partnerships between our Montana students, parents, teachers, and school leaders to improve student well-being and teaching and learning."

Grosz said it is a privilege to work with the Montana Office of Public Instruction, and they loved the students in Three Forks.

"They were high energy, worried about respect for one another and the teachers, and anxious to be part of the solution," she said.

According to Grosz, the focus of the workshops is twofold.

"One we believe Connection is Prevention. If the students feel deeper connections with one another, the staff, and the community, they are less likely to choose self-defeating paths. After our process, the students are more likely to say, 'I see you, I know you, and we don't do that,' to classmates who show up inappropriately," said Grosz. "Our secondary focus is leadership. We also encourage, at every turn, recognition and positive feedback."

During Phase One, Grosz said, community members and 17 students discussed what was going well and what could be better in the school. She added that using insights from that discussion, the students worked with their peers to develop a Leadership Solution.

"In Three Forks, the Leadership Solutions were Operation Gratitude, Career Path Mentorship, and increased inclusion of all extracurricular activities' participants, especially those that often go unnoticed," said Grosz. "What really impressed us about these students was not just the growth we saw during the two-day event, but that respect is so integral to their conversations. We could tell that this is a recurrent subject at the school and in their homes. They also chose more than one Leadership Solution, which shows us a true willingness to act as leaders and be a positive voice in their school."

The 17 students who participated in all three phases of the event were awarded Certificates of leadership.

"We expect great things from them," Grosz said.

Grosz also wanted to highlight how supportive the Three Forks staff was during the process.

"They made us feel welcome and encouraged the participants to truly think about what this training could mean to them and their community," she said.