What is Connecticut’s Kid Governor®?

Connecticut’s Kid Governor® is a national award-winning civics program for 5th graders created by the Connecticut Democracy Center. This ground-breaking approach to civics education immerses students in learning about state government, elections and voting, and civic participation through a real-life election for their state’s Kid Governor. 5th grade students in public, private, magnet, charter, and home schools are welcome to participate.

Timed to coincide with Election Day in November, Connecticut’s Kid Governor® (CTKG) is an annual program that offers schools the opportunity to enter one student candidate into a statewide election that other 5th graders vote in. Classes can vote in the election, nominate a classmate to run for office, or both! Toolkits consisting of free, custom-designed lesson plans guide classroom teachers through the program and teach students about state government in their state, the history and process of voting, and active participation in civic life.

Fifth graders research community issues they care about, create three-point platforms to address those issues, and make campaign videos. Schools run primaries to select nominees and each school’s winner advances to the Statewide Election. In November, 5th graders evaluate the online campaign videos of the final 7 candidates and cast their votes for the student and platform they support. The student receiving the most votes serves a one-year term of leadership and advocacy, working with CTDC to fulfill their campaign platform and mobilize students to take action and make a difference on the winning campaign issue.

To learn about our current and past CTKGs, their platforms, and the achievements of their terms, visit the Hall of Connecticut’s Kid Governors.

CTKG candidates work with their classmates to create a campaign video outlining:

  • Why they want to be CTKG
  • Their leadership qualities and skills
  • A community issue that they want to address and why it’s important
  • A three-point plan that will help 5th graders across Connecticut make a difference on that issue

From the pool of candidates, an Advisory Committee of civics and educational professionals chooses the final seven candidates and CTDC posts their videos online. During the Statewide Election, registered classes watched and analyze the campaign videos and vote for the platform and candidate they want to support. The candidate with the most votes statewide is then named CTKG.

The winning candidate serves a full-year term with all the benefits and responsibilities of being Kid Governor. These duties include: creating videos to share with constituents and other students about his/her community issue, maintaining a blog about his/her community issue and actions being taken by students statewide to make a difference, meeting and speaking with students and adults across the state, participating in programs and events with the Connecticut Democracy Center, and having a special CTKG Office.

For more about how your 5th grade class can participate in CTKG, please visit the “How to Participate” page.

(Above) Brian Cofrancesco, the Head of Kid Governor®, discusses how he came up with the idea of the CTKG program, how the CPAN Education Team made this idea a reality and how the first year of the program went.