Leadership & Character Development
Independence has established the mission of developing students who possess an exceptional spirit for learning, leadership and citizenship. These outcomes happen as a result of a purposeful focus on the necessary skills and qualities that will lead to success in future roles as students, employees, citizens and community members.
The Character Development Program exists as a highlight of the Leadership Curriculum, along with many other rich opportunities to experience leadership roles in our school community, such as Student Ambassadors, Student Government Association, band sectional leaders and athletics.
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The ability to communicate effectively and clearly sits high on the list of important skills for any successful adult. Therefore, public speaking is considered a fundamental skill. Beginning in kindergarten, students will experience speaking and listening opportunities daily and will be successful with both.
In each grade, there are public speaking assignments so that students grow in poise, confidence, articulation and knowledge of material. Independence graduates will be able to present themselves, their thoughts and their work in various settings with various audiences, distinguishing between formal and informal discourse. As effective communicators, they will be aware of the verbal and non-verbal communication techniques and be able to accept and utilize constructive criticism. Lessons in etiquette and manners go along with the speaking skills to help students become leaders and positive change makers.
The types of presentations might include choral speaking, “About Me” stories, morning announcements, making introductions, persuasive speaking, tongue twisters, how-to talks and multimedia presentations. Students may present alone or in partnership with others.
Designed for fifth through eighth graders, the Character Development Program sees students participate regularly with an assigned “coach,” who provides emotional support, promotes good citizenship, facilitates lessons in character development and leadership, and acts as a general mentor. Students are required to complete community service hours. Some of that will occur with the help of the CDP coach and will be completed in school. As the students get older, the hours increase, and they are encouraged to help in the broader community.
Highlights of CDP by grade level follow below:
- Get to know others, build friendships and learn to appreciate our differences
- Develop qualities of leadership, teamwork and communication
- Learn how to make positive social decisions
- Understand the value of serving others
- Digital aspects of citizenship, including formal and informal email communication
- Discuss the topics of gratitude, character strengths, personal perspectives and courage in everyday life
- Evaluate scenarios and apply the character traits to daily events
- Learn about levels of citizenship and from where our rights come
- Through Junior Achievement, learn practical information about preparing for the work world, exploring careers, discovering how to get a job and what is necessary to keep a job.
- Learn how to develop a personal brand and employ job hunting skills, both of which are applicable in the high school search
- Digital aspects of citizenship, including consideration of media use, digital footprints, online identities, cyberbullying, guarding against theft and scams and the responsibility of digital media users to respect the personal information and privacy of others