Learning to Lead
Whether the skill is soccer, playing the saxophone or solving equations, the key to mastery is practice. At Independence, we recognize the same to be true when it comes to leadership and citizenship.
We’ve created innumerable opportunities for each student to participate in their community as a good citizen because we believe that students who are good citizens locally become good citizens of the world. They can serve as a teacher’s helper in Lower School or an Early Childhood classroom assistant as sixth or seventh graders. They can lead a section in band, a community service project or a warm-up at lacrosse practice. When you look at each activity in the school day as a chance for leadership building, it’s striking the variety of ways you find for each child to shine.
Independence students also gain extensive experience speaking in public. It starts with Lower School classroom presentations and builds to larger audiences, before culminating with the eighth-grade Capstone Night. Finding a confident voice is a giant step toward finding themselves comfortable in the role of the leader.
In our I-to-I Conflict Resolution Program, children learn a step-by-step process for working through differences.
In our Middle School Character Development Program, they explore ethical decision-making, our rights and responsibilities as citizens, and timely topics such as countering cyberbullying.
Just as important, in classrooms throughout the school and moments through the day, our students interact with caring educators who make it their mission to nurture growth in character and values. This happens through explicit instruction and also quiet, powerful example.
When you see one of our runners at a cross country meet cheering on an opponent who’s having a hard time, you realize that sportsmanship is very close to citizenship. When we teach one, we’re teaching both.
JASON MOTTA, PHYSICAL EDUCATION TEACHER & ATHLETIC DIRECTOR