Waterbury, Conn. - The Connecticut Association of Schools (CAS) held the annual Elementary Level School Leadership Conference at Naugatuck Valley Community College on Wed., Jan. 8.
Approximately 300 students in grades 4-6 attended 15 sessions related to communication, productive thinking and decision making.
The goal of the conference is to demonstrate the use of a multiple-talent approach in helping each child find his/her best way of developing leadership skills.
The College has been partnering with CAS to host the event for the Greater Waterbury area since its inception in the 1990s.
Claire Dignan and Iralis De Jesus were among eleven NVCC students to lead interactive exercises in communication for the students.
“We were able to help children communicate with each other without using words,” said De Jesus. “They had a lot of fun and so did we.”
For one exercise, De Jesus and her peers set up a maze and asked pairs of student to help work their way from one end to the other without any verbal cues. In another, students were asked to draw pictures and help guide their teammates toward correctly defining them.
According to Lauren Elias, principal of B.W. Tinker Elementary School and co-chair of the event, the day was really about a chain of empowerment – teachers and parents empowering students so that they could in turn empower other students.
“We want student leaders to gain skills that they can bring back to their schools in order to be stronger leaders and role models,” Elias said.
A special session was held for parents relating their role in fostering leadership. Special workshops were also held for student advisors to identify leadership opportunities.
“I think the students learned a lot about leadership and listening to their teammates in order to work together,” said Dignan.
NVCC is committed to partnerships with K-12 institutions throughout the 22-town service region in order to help foster better college preparedness and improve access for students. The College works closely with Waterbury Public Schools through the Bridge to College Office and the NVCC enrollment team travels to area middle and high schools to engage students in the college admissions process.
“Our College is committed to advancing efforts that improve student performance in elementary, middle and high school and ensure access and opportunity to higher education,” said NVCC President Daisy Cocco De Filippis, Ph.D. “Instilling leadership values early on is critical to student success, so we are grateful for this opportunity to engage with our local schools.”