Aug. 2, 2019
Students develop and hone leadership skills
More than 285 students in grades four through 12 participated in the district’s week-long Leadership Academies from Monday, July 22 – Friday, July 26.
The four academies are divided by grade level: Elementary, grade 4; Boyce, grades 5-6; Fort Couch, grades 7-8; and Upper St. Clair High School, grades 9-12.
At the Elementary Leadership Academy, students spent the week in experiential learning strategies, group projects and hands-on activities to hone their leadership skills for the upcoming school year and beyond.
“Each day our rising fourth graders focused on new vocabulary words as they participated in activities that required them to exemplify these traits,” Megan McGrath, Elementary Leadership Academy and Eisenhower Elementary second grade teacher, said.
From commitment to courage and integrity to teamwork, students engaged in activities such as rock wall climbing that tested their bravery, a teamwork challenge used by the Navy Seals, and much more – all while reminding themselves that "who you are is how you lead."
“Students ended the week feeling proud of their accomplishments, confident in their leadership skills and happy to have made new friends along the way,” Miss McGrath said.
Fifth and sixth graders focused on the 10 core qualities of a leader – completing several different team activities that focused on each of those words. Students worked with two area non-profit organizations – Zachary’s Mission and Christopher’s Kitchen.
The students designed a “Zack Pack” for family members who have a child in the hospital. The pack is loaded with a journal and everyday supplies to help with those who are not able to get home to pack the essentials. For Christopher's Kitchen, students packed ready-made meals for those in need while their family member is undergoing treatment at Children's Hospital.
“Our students packed 25 Zack Packs as well as provided Zachary’s Mission with a donation,” Justin Gremba, Boyce Middle School and Leadership Academy teacher, said. “We purchased all the supplies to make 32 lunches for Christopher’s Kitchen, packed them, and delivered them to the hospital.”
During the week, Fort Couch students worked individually and on team-based projects to create greater awareness of their abilities to impact their global and local communities.
“Fort Couch's Leadership Academy was a dynamic week of teamwork, service in the community, and the exploration and demonstrated growth of the students’ leadership skills,” Michael DaVia, Fort Couch Leadership Academy and middle school teacher, said.
At the high school, the Leadership Academy is comprised of phases one through four. Beginning in phase one, students create a personal mission statement and develop SMART goals. Through this process, they identify and model the core values and beliefs, and explain the meaning of the phase one mantra, “Who you are is how you lead.”
Phase two explores the themes around visionary and relationship leadership. Students connect the principles of visionary and relationships with the 10 core values examined in leadership. They explain the reasoning for and develop a plan to involve everyone in productive change. Through this phase, students develop ownership amongst those they lead and describe the impact of their purpose as it relates to the lives of others.
Phase three builds upon the efforts of phases one and two as students "Make it Happen." They expand their perspective by taking their skills and competencies into the Upper St. Clair and Pittsburgh community.
Phase four is the culminating experience as they "Apply knowledge, inspire leadership, and change lives.” Students do this through three different options - (1) Upper St. Clair High School: students partner with teacher-facilitators in the planning and delivery of phases one and two; (2) Camp Soles: students partner with counselors from the YMCA camp, as they work with campers in the delivery of leadership curriculum; (3) Belize: students partner with teachers in Placencia, Belize. They develop and implement their own curriculum in a week-long experience.
2019 Leadership Academy Enrollment:
- Upper St. Clair High School: 156
- Fort Couch Middle School: 45
- Boyce Middle School: 61
- Elementary: 24