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Achieve Tackles Tough Conversation with Teen Truth

When leadership at Achieve Charter Academy noticed scholars experiencing bullying and low self-esteem, they brought in a guest speaker through Teen Truth in an attempt to stymie these problems.
The guest speaker was Brandon McCall, and he shared his story with middle schoolers at Achieve. McCall spoke about his experience as an eighth grader when his brother took someone’s life in a street fight and how that moment inspired him to change his life for the better.

McCall speaking to Achieve Charter Academy students.
Achieve scholars gathered to hear from Brandon McCall, who spoke to them about the struggles of being a teen, and ways to overcome some of the challenges that age brings.
After the assembly, scholars went to class and filled out worksheets and participated in activities related to McCall’s presentation. This culminated with a task for students to commit to one truth for the remainder of the school year. These truths were posted on the classroom door, ensuring scholars will remain accountable for their commitment.
Middle School Dean Tracy Murray said the assembly and accompanying lessons were beneficial for scholars. She has noticed a change for some scholars after McCall spoke with them.
“I think some kids have had some aha moments where they've come in and said, ‘I've really thought about some of the things that I've done this year and now regret some of the things that I said or did.’,” Murray said. “I think the scholars are trying to make some changes because of it.”

Achieve Charter Academy students listening to guest speaker.
Scholars also participated in activities after the presentation, including committing to one truth for the rest of the school year.
On the same day McCall spoke to Achieve students, a group of scholars traveled to fellow National Heritage Academies’ (NHA) partner-school Canton Charter Academy to participate in a leadership summit. The opportunity allowed for collaboration on how students at each school can help improve their environment. Partnerships like this are one of the many reasons Achieve has outperformed the local district since it opened before the 2009-10 school year.
“They were very excited, and I think that they felt very empowered that they were being asked some of their ideas of what changes they thought were needed,” Murray said. “They really hit on great social and emotional learning stuff in the building and just coming up with some solutions.”

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About Achieve Charter Academy
Achieve Charter Academy is a tuition-free, public charter school in Canton, Michigan, serving students in kindergarten through eighth grade. It is part of the National Heritage Academies network, which includes more than 100 tuition-free, public charter schools serving more than 65,000 students in kindergarten through 12th grade across nine states. For more information, visit

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