This will be the final article in the series that has followed the development and growth of the Pleasant Crossing Elementary School Leadership Club. Over the last eight weeks the pilot program has gone from concept to powerhouse within the school.
A little over eight weeks ago Mrs. Ramer and Principal Magnuson gave the green light on a project that was a little different. This was to be a group focused on developing real leadership skills as a way to help reduce bullying in the school. Working in conjunction with the life skills and anti-bully programs already in place, the Group Facilitator brought in a curriculum of core leadership skills to help the student body develop better communications and inter-personal skills. According to the Group Facilitator the concept is quite simple,
Start with a small group of students and teach them how people should behave towards each other. Give them the skills they need to be good leaders and then send them back into the student body. When the rest of the students see their successes and discover how they have become so successful, they too will seek to develop those behaviors. The best way to make a big change in a school is to start small and work from within the student body.
The program worked. Teaching the Student-Leaders a core of simple skills has made a big difference in their performance and behavior in just eight weeks. Principal Magnuson requested feedback from the teachers of the students who had participated in the pilot program. Here are just two of the responses:
“Miss S” has become more respectful of the adults in the classroom (especially the adults that are not her teacher).
“Mr. B” has improved in behavior immensely! His grades remained about the same (he was a strong student to start with), but I saw a significant increase in the way he treated others with kindness. He had really struggled with that, and I was seeing a great change in him.
The impact of the program did not stop with the eight student-leaders. As they learned new leadership skills and concepts they were challenged to put them into practice. In the very first meeting the student-leaders were challenged to pick a service project to execute as a group. Their choice was to present “classroom skills” to the Fourth Grade Classrooms. These presentations were so impactful that the Fourth Grade teachers requested the group produce posters with the skills as a reminder after the group had gone.
While this group may have only one more meeting, it isn’t “the end of the road” for the concept. The faculty and staff of Pleasant Crossing Elementary have been so happy with the results that they have requested a new group be formed in the coming semester. They have also shared the results of the pilot program with other schools within the school system. Based on their recommendation a new group is being formed at Break-o-Day Elementary and other schools are considering the idea.
The first group of eight students who joined the Pleasant Crossing Elementary Leadership Club have gone far beyond simply learning some leadership skills. They are pioneers, they have opened the door to better things for their entire school and the community at large. It is the hope of everyone involved in this pilot program that many more students follow in their footsteps in the coming months.