Friday, January 28, 2011

Middle School Vision: Student Leadership Redux

Canterbury’s newest Desired Result of Student Learning (DRSL) focuses on developing student leadership. While it’s addition to the DRSLs may be new, the programs and activities we have in place in the middle school are anything but.

Our 8th grade students are poised, confident public speakers who seek out leadership roles. In the middle school we want to develop student-leaders who have a strong sense of responsibility to others, a sense of autonomy in that they can make a difference through their actions, and an understanding of their own competencies so that they can, as our Social Contract states, learn to lead and lead to learn. We believe our students have healthier and longer lasting relationships with each other, faculty, and administration as a result of this leadership development. We accomplish this through a variety of programs.

First and foremost our emphasis on the Developmental Design philosophy provides a 360⁰ approach to character development. Out of this philosophy our students created their own social contract which guides our actions towards each other on a daily basis. This Social Contract has been discused in advisories numerous times in order to understand what each aspect means to the students.

From this baseline of character development our students have opportunities in Venture Out for explicit leadership development thorugh group and personal challenges in a setting outside of the classroom. Athletics also offers lessons in sportsmanship, perseverance, and acountability in a setting other than the classroom. Other extracurricular activities which develop leadership qualities in our students include student council, chapel acolytes, Chapel Buddies, Families, and after school clubs.

The curricular programs for leadership abound in the middle school as well. Service Learning is a program we are working to integrate into classes in order to provide a more meaningful experience. Our band, chorus, handbell, and art clases all have some performance they work toward throughout the class. A variety of field trips means our students are representing Canterbury off campus and are responsible to uphold our values. Finally, one of our most visible examples of student leadership is our 8th grade sermon program through our Theology class.

Our alumni have borne out the value of this emphasis on student leadership. In the last five years, Canterbury has had 5 valecdictorians, 2 salutorians, 3 student body presidents, 18 citzenship award recipients, 4 Morehead Cain nominees, and on and on….

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