Participation is Paramount for a Leader's Credibility
When asking your faculty and staff to take a leap of faith and try something new, it is critical that the leader step out in faith as well. I have joined with my amazing staff in hosting a program for our students. I always believe it is critical to be ready to commit to anything that I ask staff to commit to so that we are partners in the rewards AND my presence will continue to provide credibility and solidarity for our team.
This year we have begun a significant initiative to try and provide an after-school network of clubs and extracurricular activities for our students. Simultaneously, several of our teachers are taking the opportunity to tutor students since we have budgeted to provide transportation for these programs on Tuesdays and Thursdays. The longer we can keep our students on campus, we can be assured they are safe. We provide snacks, and we can be assured they are fed. We provide rich academic opportunities and content exposure, and we are assured they are learning!
Several teachers and staff have chosen to create and participate in rich experiences for our students. I have also chosen to be a member of our after-school activities.
Here is our COMING SOON flyer from last spring for the programs we have begun on campus: Cherry STEMS (STEM project-based learning club), My Brother’s Keeper (a mentoring program partnered with local community leaders to reach out to young boys), Cheetah Harmony (a Music Academy with exposure to instruments and community music programs), and a thriving Chess Club! The emphasis in each of these clubs is expanding the background knowledge of the students through exposure to high-level academic content and experiences.
In addition, this fall, as part of the STEM program, our STEM Teacher has begun a GEMS Club: GEMS is Girls in Engineering, Math, and Science.
I have been able to participate in two of the clubs myself and share in the joy! I attend every My Brother’s Keeper and Chess Club meeting. The experiences have been intensely rich for me.
The My Brother’s Keeper program is led by a local pastor who has scheduled to bring in multiple guest speakers. He first brought in local law enforcement officers to speak with students. He and one of our male staff members teach character lessons, and the pastor is currently developing a lesson for the boys that has an obstacle course in conjunction with our PE Coach. It is so awesome to watch how these developing young men respond to the instruction of these community and school mentors. Here are photos from the last session:
The other club, the Chess Club, has been the club that makes me laugh, and I leave each meeting with a huge smile! I have taught several students how to play Chess. It is very rewarding to turn the fledgling players loose and let them play other students. We have club norms like, “No bragging if you win.” AND….one young lady in 3rd grade asked me if she could check out a chess board to take it home to teach her family how to play. Now, that was a worthwhile experience for all the time that our team of three adults puts into the club. Here are photos from our first session:
I am grateful for the staff who extend their work day to provide these experiences for our students, and I make certain that I participate because we are ALL IN THIS TOGETHER!