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Students' Present Resolutions to CAPSS' Board of Directors

April 7, 2017

Brief History
  • In the spring of 2016, 22 school districts engaged in a series of local meetings with superintendents, students, teachers, community members (including local legislators when possible) to develop four or five policy changes that they would like to see adopted in our state in order to Reimagine High School in a way that would be better for that community.
  • On December 6, 2016, Superintendents, students and teachers from 20 districts met in the House Chamber of the Capital Building to determine their policy priorities
  • Teams submitted their resolutions in November.
  • CAPSS reviewed them, combined those that were alike, and created a list of 20 resolutions that the teams would present and then vote on on December 6.
  • When the teams broke out into four groups to discuss the presentations and attached resolutions, the unexpected happened.
  • The students took over the conversations and immediately began to combine, rewrite and restructure the 20 resolutions.
  • We spent the afternoon listening to the revised policy ideas; but never had time to prioritize the list.
  • We then made the decision to have the students come together for a second work session. That happened on December 20.
  • Our group was smaller; but nonetheless, mighty.
  • Given the events of our previous gathering, we knew that the resolutions were in good hands, so the adults stepped out of the room and let the students make the necessary revisions.
  • Commissioner Wentzell stopped by to meet with the students and look in on their work.
  • By noon, they had completed the task of revising the content of the resolutions into something that could be acted on.
  • It is my pleasure to introduce Nicole Wilson (UCONN – formerly of USD#2,) Olivia Koretz (Windsor Locks High School,) and Camron Gosselin (Old Saybrook High School) who will review the resolutions with you.

Weighing Options
Five Necessities for an Ideal High School, According to College Freshmen

by Mary Kenkel, KnowledgeWorks

Here are some of the ingredients for an ideal high school, according to college students:

1. A welcoming environment. “If the school has a loving, respectful environment, chances are that the majority of students will be respectful too. I’ve seen low-income students bullied for wearing the same clothes every day, and I’ve heard teachers talk about those students and make fun of them, as well. Even though high school students are close to being adults, they still follow by example. Building a welcoming environment is one of the first and more important things a school could do to foster students who will passionately serve their community.”

2. A focus on students’ futures beyond school. “A school should help students realize their values and guide them through their transformation into adulthood. Everyone involved needs to work to help students get where they want to go. That’s really all schools need to do. … I would want a school not to have a ‘just-get-them-out-the-door’ approach, but instead have a ‘set-them-up-for-success’ mentality toward student learning.”

3. Opportunities for real-world experiences. “School should value opportunities beyond the classroom. In an ideal learning experience, one half of the day would be spent in the classroom learning core material and the second half of the day would be spent in the field, at an internship, co-op or something that applies the concepts learned in the classroom. I feel like this would be the best approach to fully master something.”

4. Less importance on testing; more importance on comprehension. “We should have greater value on understanding the material than doing well on standardized tests.”

5. Greater emphasis on working as a team. “Ever since graduating, all the work I’ve done has included teamwork. There’s a need, not only to foster this type of environment in the classroom, but also to build value and understanding for teamwork throughout the school and student body.”