Reimagine School Blog

 

By Lou Salza, Head of School

Our Upper School Students of the Month for March were recognized by their teachers in each grade for their qualities of Leadership. This was an impressive, talkative, animated and funny group of students. They laughed readily and enjoyed interacting with one another. They spoke candidly with spontaneity and authenticity about themselves and their experiences with others.

When I asked our group – which included Joe Brett '18, Ava Edelman '19, Garrett Culp '20, Alison Incanno '21, Thomas Nestor '22, Benjamin Broz '23 – to share what they understood about leadership; the responses echoed the titles of so many books I see on sale at airport bookshelves about business acumen and executive leadership:

  • They noted that leaders must be willing to do what is right, to reach out to draw others in, to accept others for who they are and recognize the strengths and challenges they bring to any project.
  • Leaders encourage others even when things are not going so well.
  • Leaders take responsibility for the development and improvement of those around them for the good of the team—for the good of all.
  • Leaders can accept different points of view and perspectives that differ from their own without being disagreeable or argumentative.
  • Effective leaders also know what not to do!  All our student leaders agreed that starting any conversation with “ You are wrong because...” was a really bad idea!

The younger students were more surprised to be selected than our older students who have had opportunities over their time at Lawrence to exercise leadership and be recognized by others in a way that allows students to develop a well-rounded sense of themselves.

I noted that there are no courses in our curriculum guide called Leadership, so I asked, “Where did you learn about leadership?" 

Two of our student leaders cited opportunities to participate in community and church youth groups and service projects that require teamwork, organization and follow-through. Team sports were mentioned as good opportunities to learn to share with teammates and let younger less experienced athletes have opportunities to develop skills. One student shared learning about leadership from parents who emphasize the importance of teamwork in their careers.

Interestingly, our kids pointed out that it is important to have balance in their own lives – they can’t be buried under a ton of homework for example; and still get to participate in community, service and athletic activities that require free time after school and are so important to their growth and development as leaders.

Each one of our students of the month spoke of how important it was to them having teachers who understood them as learners and supported their learning in and out of class.

As usual, our students are wise beyond their years. They already know that some of the most valuable concepts and skills can only be acquired through experience and practice outside the classroom – and even outside of school. Kudos to our Lawrence student leaders of the month!


Lou Salza is the Head of School at Lawrence School. He began teaching in 1973 in the Philadelphia Public Schools. Prior to joining Lawrence School in July of 2007, Lou served for 11 years as Head of School for ASSETS School for Gifted, Dyslexic and Gifted-Dyslexic students in Honolulu. For eight years prior to that, Lou was the Assistant Principal of the Hamilton Wenham Regional High School. He also served in various positions over 13 years at Landmark School in Beverly, Massachusetts. He can be contacted at lsalza@lawrenceschool.org

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