Fifth grade student leaders at Conger Elementary School met with their teams Friday to introduce themselves and get to know students before they start mentoring them throughout the year.
Conger Dean of Students Toby West said Friday that there are seven teams at Conger, much like the house system at other schools in the district, that are designed to make the school population feel smaller and foster relationships. West said there are 28 fifth grade students who are student leaders of the teams, and throughout the year, the team leaders will do a variety of things, including leading their teams to assemblies and mentoring the kindergartners.
“It’s really helpful, and it’s awesome to build that connection between kindergartners and fifth graders,” West said. “Both kindergartners and fifth graders really like it a lot. The three goals are community building, building lasting relationships across grade levels and between students and teachers, and creating leadership opportunities.”
West added that on Friday, the fifth grade team leaders met their students in the three kindergarten classes just to say hello ahead of the first Team Day activity on Tuesday. Fifth graders asked their teammates how their school year has gone so far and read books to them.
“Logistically, it’s helpful,” West laughed. “It also creates lasting relationships. Our fifth graders are excellent role models, so we want out kindergartners to be exposed to that as well.”
West said the program has been going on for about six years, and that throughout the year, the teams will come up with and do projects that benefit Conger, Delaware City Schools, or the city in general.
“I’ve really enjoyed seeing projects make kids think about being better citizens in a large community and how to better their community,” West said. “They see a need and fill it. They are taking what they are learning in their teams and extend it beyond their role as a team member and beyond Conger. Nine out of 10 kids say they enjoy that team part and enjoy giving back.”
West said the teams help the school do more than educate students by letting them see their choices in action.
“I want to empower students,” West said. “I want them to use their voice and give them choices about what we do to make Conger the best school we can … Our role as a school is to help make them positive contributing members of society. That’s what we really want to accomplish.”
Glenn Battishill can be reached at 740-413-0903 or on Twitter @BattishillDG.