Wingman Program Comes to SMSA
The Wingman Program, an initiative started in memory of Dylan Hockley who was killed in the 2012 Sandy Hook shooting, has come to SMSA’s Middle School.
The program is operated under the Dylan’s Wings Foundation and is designed to create a youth leadership program that “inspires ALL children to go above and beyond and create inclusive communities in their schools, sports clubs, dance studios and more.”
Coordinator of the program at SMSA Kellie Wagner said that the school decided to apply to bring the program to SMSA last year after she saw students demonstrate how the program is run at a school redesign professional development. Administration then committed to supporting the program for the 2017-2018 academic year.
SMSA Assistant Principal for the middle school Karin Bertero said Wingman was a much needed and timely program.
“It offers our students the chance to lead by example as role models in our school community.”
To begin, some 12 students in grades 7-9 were first nominated to be trained as student leaders for the program. Those students then got to choose a peer to train with them. There are now 35 students who have already begun training to kick off the program in January. Those leaders will train their peers in grades 6-8 this year.
SMSA is one of 18 schools in CT and NY involved in the Wingman program and the only Hartford school.
"Dylan's Wings of Change is excited to partner with SMSA to begin training their Wingman student leaders in November. SMSA is the first school in Hartford to adopt Wingman and will be a role model for student-led community building in the city,” Mr. Hockley, Project Director of the foundation and Dylan's father, said.
The student leaders will decide on a theme that the middle school needs to work on such as empathy, kindness, gossip or another area. They will then design lesson plans for Takeover Days and mini- challenges and well as run an awards ceremony for their peers in June.
Six Teacher Champions will work with the student leaders in the program including Wagner, Amanda Auen, Justin Taylor, Meliha Korkutovic, Christine Demusz and Elissa Radmanovich.