Town Times Requester



Student input requested for educational changes

The Connecticut Association of Public School Superintendents and The Connecticut Association of Schools are asking students across Connecticut in grades 6-12 to share their ideas for improving education. Whether it’s integrating more technology into learning or enhancing hands-on career development opportunities, CAPSS and CAS want the student’s perspective on what it will take to help them thrive in the classroom.

“Administrators, educators and legislators have countless ideas on how to improve learning for all students,” said Joseph J. Cirasuolo, Ed.D., executive director. “What’s often missing is the perspective of the student who spends five days a week, nearly 10 months out of the year in the classroom. Our goal is to shift that dynamic and incorporate the learner’s perspective into our efforts to transform education in Connecticut.”

In January 2013, CAPSS and CAS kicked-off their inaugural Student Voices contest, which was inspired by the CT NextEd Report, a set of practical recommendations for how to re-imagine Connecticut’s educational system. More than 50 videos were submitted by middle and high school students across the state. In their videos students shared creative and practical ideas for improving their in-school experiences, including opportunities to increase project-based learning, ways to leverage technology to make schools more ‘green’, and strategies for increasing student engagement.

This year, CAPSS and CAS have added an essay division to the contest, offering students an opportunity to present a thoughtful case for not only what they want to improve but how they would improve it and the projected benefits for students.

“We are so excited that the Student Voices contest will continue. The submissions from the students last year were incredible; a powerful reminder that we must invite students into the conversation about what works in schools. Their thoughtful insights and ideas can serve as significant drivers in our efforts to transform education for Connecticut students,” Karissa Niehoff, Ed. D. Executive Director, CAS, said.

The Student Voices contest is open to all Connecticut students in grades 6-12. Students may enter in the Middle School Video Division, High School Video Division or the Middle and High School Essay Division.

Students are encouraged to work independently or in a small group (no more than three students) to create a 1-4 minute video submission that highlights their recommendations for transforming education in Connecticut. Essay entries may be submitted by individual students only. First, second and third place prizes will be awarded in each division.

The Student Voices contest is a joint initiative of CAPSS and CAS. Both groups hope to engage students in developing creative and articulate videos and essays that inspire their peers, educators, administrators and policy makers to think about education differently.

CAPSS and CAS are accepting video and essay submissions from Connecticut students for Student Voices until December 13, 2013. A panel of judges will review video and essay entries in January 2014 and the finalists’ videos will be opened to public voting in February 2014. Results for both the video and essay contests will be announced in March 2014. To learn more about the video and essay divisions of the Student Voices contest and to enter, visit:

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