Develop Policy Solutions & Communicate Policy Ideas

Curricular Resources for Developing Policy Solutions

This is an opportunity for young people to propose a new policy, change an existing policy, or hold people accountable for implementing a policy. A “policy” is a set of rules or commitments that govern a school, government, or organization, to which people in positions of authority can be held accountable. Successful policy proposals enable a youth group’s ideas to be sustained after individual team members have left the group.

School policies include such issues such as rules for student behavior, time allowed for lunch, new classes offered, or requirements for curriculum. Cities make policy when they adopt rules affecting housing, transportation, and parks, or when they fund new programs such as youth services. States make policy when they set prices for college tuition, require or prohibit health education in schools, or allow oil drilling. These are all just examples of possible policies.

Curricular Resources:

  1. YPAR lesson on community organizing
  2. YPAR lesson on institutional change
  3. YPAR lesson on applying your research findings

Communicating Policy Ideas in a Public Setting

High quality culminating performances should demonstrate a strong command of the mechanics of public speaking and presentation skills. These include characteristics of voice, language, body positioning, gestures, engagement with the audience, and possibly appropriate presentation aids (e.g. powerpoints, graphics, etc) that complement, rather than subtract from, their presentation. Ideally, the delivery of a high quality culminating performance should also reflect students’ passion for the topic they are speaking about.


Resources for writing to senators,  writing op eds, doing social media campaigns, and organizing social actions. 

o (this is about writing letters to senators, or other policy makers, to influence them



o (you may have better resources here, but I’m thinking it’s about how to develop a social media campaign, or how to use social media to get your message out




Body Language and Gesture

Public Speaking Practice: To improve public speaking skills, try out new public speaking tactics, and focus on tone, body language, speed, volume and diction.

Non-verbal Communication: To practice communicating without words to become a strong team.

Clarity of Speech

Speak for Success Lesson 1: Enunciation

Public Speaking Practice: To improve public speaking skills, try out new public speaking tactics, and focus on tone, body language, speed, volume and diction.

Eye Contact

Eye Contact Teacher Resources: Mini experiential lessons that help young children practice eye contact.

Opening Hook

Public Speaking Using Hooks: To improve public speaking skills, to practice different types of hooks, and to practice with different audiences.

Relationships among Sections

Speech Transitions – Magical Words and Phrases

Speaker Introductions

Article: A Good Introduction and Opener: Provides presenters with examples of how to impact/distract the audience with a great introduction


Example 1: 7th Grade Anti-bullying Campaign

The principal and other school staff regularly visited Ms. A’s classroom to listen to the students talk about what they were learning and seeing. The adults in the school invited the students to participate in “behind-the-scenes” discussions about the school bullying policy that students usually do not attend. Based on their understanding of the issue and the analysis of their original research, the fourth step of action civics is to create a policy or strategy for dealing with some of the causes of the main problem. Ms. A spent some time facilitating a discussion with her students about how to create meaningful and sustainable change with their policy. The students opted to create an alliance with the school administration to open a communication channel so that students could introduce their ideas into the ongoing broader school policy discussions about bullying. Not only did the school’s administration stop by Ms. A’s class, but the students were also invited to administrative discussion about the bullying policy.

Example 2: 7th Grade: Tuition Equity for Undocumented Students

Based on their research, the students developed two strategies. The first was to send persuasive letters to their legislators to push them to support the measures that would reduce tuition costs for undocumented students. Second, the students set out to hold a dialogue with school faculty to ask them to look into post-secondary options for undocumented students The students reasoned that this was an appropriate strategy because the school had a strong pro-college message but school administration had not considered the college access realities of undocumented students.