Check Out the Exciting Middle School Programs Offered by DCLI!

The Jerry J. Dawson Civic Leadership Institute is excited to present middle school programming for the current academic year and summer. We are offering four separate and unique programs for current 7th and 8th grade students in Decatur Public School District. Students from across schools are encouraged to participate. 


We have a maximum participation of 25 participants for each program.

Read About DCLI Middle School Programs Below

mikva challenge | project soapbox


Are You Interested in Putting Your Voice into Action?

Project Soapbox is a series of lessons to help students identify an issue they care about and develop and deliver a persuasive speech on why other should care about that issue – similar to a TedTalk.  Project Soapbox is part of Issues to Action curriculum.  We believe and the course design supports our students.  There are four key components for Project Soapbox:


  • Students’ voices are encouraged, valued, and incorporated to the fullest extent possible. 

  • Experiences, knowledge, perspectives, and concerns of student are to drive this work.

  • Students learn by doing, with a focus & understanding on the impact of collective action.

  • Student reflections and analysis are central to this process. 


Through Project Soapbox, students identify issues that they care about in their community and envision what change would look like.  Over the course of the academic year students will meet one Saturday a month to: 


  • Examine identity and community. 

  • Identify issues and envision change. 

  • Conduct research and set goals. 

  • Analyze power. 

  • Strategize, plan, and act. 

  • Showcase work and reflect. 


Students will also have some fun field trips and experiences, and organize an event to invite the public to hear their final speeches. It’s going to be epic!

Offered: 2021-2022 Academic Year

Students: 7th & 8th

Commitment: One Saturday Per Month

Tags: DCLI Leadership, Communication, TedTalks


Dave Ramsey Foundations in Personal FinanceMiddle School Edition

Foundations in Personal Finance: Middle School Education is designed to be a fun way to learn how to win with money. Along with the entertaining video lessons, the concepts taught in course will help students understand how to take control of money now and avoid huge money mistakes later. This course teaches middle schools students how to:


  • Write and follow a budget. 

  • Save money and pay cash for purchases. 

  • Avoid the dangers of debt.

  • Explore a variety of career options. 

  • Differentiate between saving and investing.

  • Identify types of insurance.

  • Explore global economics. 

  • Be aware of marketing and be a wise consumer. 


Students will also visit financial institutions, meet with investors and bankers and begin to become savvy with not only their funds, but the money they ask for from parents and relatives.


Financial literacy is essential to a prosperous and whole life.


Offered: Spring 2022

Students: 7th & 8th

Commitment: TBA 

Tags: DCLI Leadership, Financial Literacy, Personal Finance


Middle School Entrepreneurship Program


Icehouse Entrepreneurship Program

Middle School Entrepreneurship Program

The Icehouse Middle School Program builds resilience, creative problem-solving, and collaboration skills while helping young people recognize the applications for their education at an earlier age. In addition, it encourages creativity and critical thinking, communication, teamwork, and other entrepreneurial skills – skills that will enable them to succeed regardless of their chosen path. 


The Icehouse Middle School course cultivates an entrepreneurial mindset in young adults. It is designed to empower learners during a developmental phase of life and enhance their curiosity. Most notably, the Ice House Middle School Program outcomes are designed to:


  • Create more prepared and engaged students.

  • Increase self-efficacy.

  • Develop entrepreneurial attitudes, behaviors, and skills.

  • Assist in meeting college- and career-readiness standards.

  • Begin thinking about, start or continue to develop a business. 


Offered: Spring 2022

Students: 7th & 8th

Middle School Health Professions Club

Middle School Health Professions Club

The Middle School Health Professions Club is designed to explore individual health, wellness and personal fitness. The Health Professions Club will also explore, through workshops and activities a wide variety of careers in healthcare. Students will also explore community health and topics related to the health of our community.


Offered: 2021-2022 Academic Year

Students: 7th & 8th

Commitment: TBA

Tags: DCLI Leadership, Healthcare




Male Leadership Initiative

Mentoring for Middle School

The Male Leadership Initiative is a leadership program specifically designed for young men.  The Male Leadership Initiative is a mentorship program that will focus on supporting and encouraging the continued development middle school young men.  The Male Leadership Initiative is built on establishing skills in academics, language and communication, commitment to community and service, appearance and attire, and health and wellness.   


Offered: 2021-2022 Academic Year

Students: 7th & 8th

Commitment: TBA

Tags: DCLI Leadership, Entrepreneurship, Ice House