Bridgeport hosts conference

Bridgeport Middle School hosted its first leadership conference March 9. Local participants included, standing, middle school Principal Brian Ellis and intervention specialist Hanna Coffman; in front, Fani Model, Abel Valente, Cata Martinez, Irene Jimenez, Edwin Bucio, Maritza Bravo, Bianca Torres, Nayeli Garcia, Marian Jimenez, Alondra Jimenez, Zaid Cruz and Brandon Valdovinos. (Adrienne Douke photo)


By Adrienne Douke
Empire Press Correspondent

Bridgeport Middle School hosted its first leadership conference March 9 in the high school gymnasium.

This was one of 15 middle-level regional leadership conferences held across the state, sponsored through the Association of Washington Student Leaders, a division of the Association of Washington School Principals. The popular middle school conferences are in their 25th year and this year’s event at Bridgeport was well attended. Eleven local schools were represented. In addition to the hosting school, they included Brewster, Manson, Omak, Okanogan, Wilbur, Creston, Manson Elementary, Manson Middle School, Tonasket and Odessa.

The focus of the conference was to promote a school culture of learning, to find ways to help all students succeed (closing the gap), and to ensure student safety at school. The schedule of events began with registration and an opportunity for students to meet one another. Then there was a welcoming address and an invitation to enhance listening skills. Later there were a variety of workshops, a snack and lunch. The conference concluded with a final motivational message to the students on how to apply leadership skills learned at the conference in their schools.

Hanna Coffman, a Bridgeport intervention specialist for grades 5-8 and organizer of the event said, “We wanted to host a leadership conference to help improve our efforts in creating a school culture of learning, closing the gap, and ensuring school safety for our students. Ten area schools accepted our invitation to come together and learn more about how to apply different leadership and social skills to their school setting. We were very pleased with the turnout.”

“It was a really difficult process putting the leadership conference on, but it was worth it,” Bridgeport Student Body President Catalina Martinez said.

Bridgeport Student Body Vice President Alondra Jimenez said, “It was really nice meeting the other schools who came, and sharing leadership principles.”

Student leaders from each school explored the powerful concepts of servant leadership, exchanged ideas with student leaders from other schools, and participated in team building activities as a school group. Student leaders and participants left the conference with a wide variety of new ideas and fresh understanding about the role of leadership in their schools. They learned the importance of their role as school leaders in creating a positive school culture of learning, closing the gap so that all students can experience academic and social success, and ensuring school safety so that all students feel that they belong and are physically and emotionally safe.

Bridgeport Middle School Principal Brian Ellis concluded the conference saying, “Today was fantastic! Eleven schools came to the conference, and we enjoyed a very positive experience watching our students learn leadership skills. Thank you, Hanna Coffman, and all of our ASB students and participating schools, for all your hard work and dedication in making this a successful event.”