On a recent morning at Golding Middle School, students had the opportunity to join their peers and their teachers in participating in an activity of their choice.
Some played Capture the Ruby in the gymnasium. Others participated in a maple syrup tasting, or a game of cards. There was a Lego challenge, a coding activity and an acting workshop, too.
In total, there were more than two dozen activities in which students could participate, all as part of the middle school’s monthly “Connectivity Day.”
The goal of the program, which takes place during a 45-minute period in the morning, is to help students connect with each other — as well as their teachers and their school — by discovering common interests and new activities.
Connectivity Day also serves one of the elements of the district’s strategic plan, which is to boost student engagement.
Currently, 84 percent of Golding students participate in a co- or extra-curricular activity, a significant increase from 70 percent just two years earlier. The target is to have 90 percent of students participating by 2022.
“We began with the idea that we wanted to connect students to other students, connect students to teachers, and students to school,” said Jesse Cosser, a sixth-grade math teacher who serves on the Golding Inquiry Committee, which started Connectivity Day this past year.
“It’s about building relationships and connections. We believe at the core that kids who are connected to things will be more successful in other things at school.”
Connectivity Day works like this: In the weeks beforehand, every student signs up for one of the activities, each of which is led by a teacher or group of teachers. The students and teachers then all participate together.
The activities range from games in the gym to a STEM activity in the library, during which a group of students took on the challenge of building a bridge that would allow a MeeperBot to drive from one table to another.
It’s a chance for students to discover common interests with their peers and teachers — or even a new hobby altogether. In time, some of the Connectivity Day activities could blossom into co- or extra-curricular clubs or activities of their own.
“It’s the idea that everybody belongs somewhere,” Mr. Cosser said. “Every single student in the building had a place to go. Everyone was matched to an activity.”