Warde students earn top honors in ‘Student Voices’ essay contest

The Connecticut Association of Public School Superintendents (CAPSS) and The Connecticut Association of Schools (CAS) are pleased to announce that Ridgefield High School and Fairfield Warde High School students have earned top honors in the 2nd annual ‘Student Voices’ essay contest.

CAPSS and CAS partnered for the campaign in an effort to engage high school students across Connecticut in developing essays that inspire their peers, educators, administrators and policy makers to think about education differently.

“Students have a unique, first-hand perspective on how to improve Connecticut’s educational system,” Joseph J. Cirasuolo, Ed.D., Executive Director, Connecticut Association of Public School Superintendents, said. “By providing students with opportunities to share their ideas and recommendations, we hope to enhance the conversations that educators and policy makers are having around education reform and work towards an enhanced learning model that offers optimal opportunities to all students.”

The judges rated all essay entries against the following five criteria—comprehension, organization, conclusions, creativity and writing.

The 2015 CAPSS and CAS ‘Student Voices’ essay contest winners are:

1st place: John Diorio, Ridgefield High School, Ridgefield

2nd place: Maya Cromwell, Fairfield Warde High School, Fairfield

3rd place: Danielle Altchiler, Fairfield Warde High School, Fairfield

Honorable Mention: Maddy Baer, Fairfield Warde High School, Fairfield

Featured among the winning essays were recommendations for creating links among careers, courses and real world experiences; giving students feedback on their work in the form of specific comments about the work rather than grades, better course choices, and helping students find their personal incentive.

“The Student Voices for Improving Education project is not only unique but also a very important part of our efforts to transform public education in Connecticut,” said Karissa Niehoff, Ed. D. Executive Director, CAS. “Students are often the best resource as education is first and foremost their experience. Each essay submission was impressive in both proposals for change and how it captured students’ voices.”

Winners of the essay contest will receive $1,000 (1st place), $600 (2nd place), $300 (3rd place) and $100 (honorable mention) prizes from CAPSS and CAS.

The ‘Student Voices’ essay and video contests were inspired by the CT NextEd Report, which provides a robust set of practical recommendations for how to reimagine Connecticut’s educational system.

About The Connecticut Association of Public School Superintendents (CAPSS):

The Connecticut Association of Public School Superintendents (CAPSS), based in West Hartford, CT, has been the voice of superintendents of schools in Connecticut for years. The mission of CAPSS is to lead the continuous improvement of public education for all students by advocating public policy for children and by developing and supporting executive school leaders. To learn more, visit www.capss.org.

About The Connecticut Association of Schools (CAS):

The Connecticut Association of Schools (CAS), located in Cheshire, CT, is an organization working to strengthen elementary and secondary education and athletics (CIAC) in Connecticut. Through leadership, administrative, and professional development services, CAS works to serve the collective interests and needs of Connecticut educators. CAS’s mission is to provide exemplary programs and services that promote excellence in the education of all children. To learn more, visit www.casciac.org.

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