Sharing Ideas across the Shoreline

Written by Noelia Guaricela|
Photos by Noelia Guaricela |

On October 26,2018, students and staff from the Shoreline schools came to The Morgan School. Haddam Killingworth, Westbrook, Morgan, Old Saybrook, Old Lyme, East Hampton, Hale-Ray and Cromwell high schools participated in this conference. This great opportunity was organized by Principal Keri Hagness with help from Willem DeVries, Johnathan Fiorillo, Annalyse Olcott, Mya Yetso, Mr.Webb, Quinn Pender, Mr.Messina and Mr.Zduncyk. 

This conference started at the auditorium with a college/career panel featuring teacher, college professors or professionals: Paul Barron, Laurie Sanders, Jennifer Welsh, Chuck Appleby, John Madura, Mel Graf, Dr. Kathleen Webb, Aynsley Diamond and John Steady. Each of the panel members answered a question directed to them. For example, “What do you observe as some of the biggest challenges new students/ new employees have regarding handling setbacks?”, to which Jennifer Welsh answered, “What I find is that students get paralyzed by change, and they get paralyzed by the idea that they can actually take the lead and be trusted to do something. I think that it is really important to number one, remember that when you come to an organization and there is a step back where you feel like you didn’t quite make the mark that you were supposed to make, that the time is where you say ‘ you know what, I got here and I can get over that”

After the panel discussion with teachers and college professors, there was a mixed activity. Students got a candy name and went to their candy’s assigned room. They spent about 30 minutes with their assigned group. The first activity was a “Group Ice Breaker” which took around 10 minutes. The group then took 10 minutes to talk briefly about the panel discussion. As a group, the students and teachers in the room answered and shared ideas on some questions. For example, “Something I want to know before I graduate”. Some added that they would want to know how to manage money, common skills of being an adult, how to prioritize, how to work with other people and a lot more. 

Following the group discussion and lunch in the cafeteria, students reported to an assigned classroom to share what was discussed in the group they attended in the morning. The principals of each school took notes on the suggestions. Some students said ” More X-Blocks”, “Field Trips”, “More time to finish assignments”. 

The conference ended in the auditorium where each person paired up with someone with a different role. For example, if you were a student, you had to pair up with a teacher.  Once in their groups, they will answer questions such as, “What learning led to your shining moment?”.

Towards the end, each school chose a student that will be explaining the ideas and suggestions that they will take with them. Next year the schools can share how they implemented some of the ideas in their schools. 

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