School leaders serve as role models for staff by coaching and mentoring aspiring principals, new teachers, and teacher leaders. They should not miss the opportunity to develop leadership skills in their own students as well. Student-to-student mentoring provides opportunities for student leaders to develop and practice leadership, mentoring, and coaching skills that will contribute to positive school experiences for the entire student body.
Reading: “Seniors Take the Lead,” Principal Leadership, November 2012, pp. 28–31.
This article about Grafton High School demonstrates the value of training students to support and encourage their peers. Have the teams at your school read the article and use the guide below to discuss how Grafton High School provides opportunities for upperclass students to develop and demonstrate leadership skills and how your school can encourage student leadership opportunities by providing occasions and protocols for your student leaders to be mentors and coaches to other students.
|Seniors Take the Lead by Maureen Cohen|
|Collaboration||Personalization||Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment|
|How were collaborative activities at Grafton High School structured to support teachers, seniors, and freshman students?
How did collaborative partnerships between the teachers at Grafton High School and their upper class student leaders improve school climate and freshman achievement?
How might we further develop teachers’ and students’ leadership and coaching skills?
How are we presently providing opportunities at our school for students to develop and use their leadership skills and how could we increase those opportunities in the future?
|How did making student leadership a priority at Grafton High School improve the educational experience for both freshmen and senior students?
How did developing senior leadership capacity improve both their academic achievement and the achievement of Grafton underclassmen?
What strategies and actions might we implement at our school to build students’ leadership capacity, engage our students in relationship building, and develop valuable college and career skills?
|What strategies has Grafton High School put in place to improve the achievement of Grafton ninth-grade students?
How did student to student mentoring impact student achievement?
What strategies and initiatives have we implemented at our school so that every student has the opportunity to develop leadership and mentoring skills?
How can we improve opportunities for students to use those skills to make better academic, social, and civic decisions?
Extend and Apply
Select a recorder to list the salient discussion points. Ask participants: How can these strategies be utilized to improve our existing programs or to serve as a foundation for a new school initiative? Identify leaders who might collaborate to improve or develop a student mentoring program. Present your ideas/plans to the full faculty for input and provide opportunities for student input. Utilize the discussion guide planning tools and templates as needed.