Develop skills through authentic experiences: classroom, expedition, and community.
authentic leadership education
The common thread to the semester is leadership development. Every aspect of the student experience—from the daily structure, to the Capstone Leadership Course (an academic course all students take), to wilderness expeditions, to the expectations for how the community interacts—is grounded in the framework of developing students as leaders. At Alzar School, students work through the following guiding questions and frame their experiences using Alzar School’s “10 Elements of Leadership” vocabulary. Students wrestle with guiding questions:
- How do you lead your own life?
- As a community member, what are your privileges and responsibilities?
- Why are leaders needed?
- What makes a leader effective?
- How will you make an impact on the world?
Over the course of the semester, students find personal growth and maturity through practice in informal and designated leadership roles, active reflection on their personal strengths and real-time feedback, and their participation within a small community that requires students to take initiative and work through challenges.
Within the academic framework, students will take a more analytical tack through leadership models (including Marshall Ganz’s concepts for leading change), historical analysis of leaders, and debriefing experiences of the semester from the curricular perspective. Students come to the school with the desire to make an impact on the world around them, and they leave with the tools and resources to make the world a better place.
Over the course of the semester, students will plan their Culminating Leadership Project which addresses a need in their home community. We have seen tremendous results from our students returning home from the semester, energized and enthused to put their skills into action. From community-building programs implemented in their sending schools (REACH Cleveland) (Senior Sisters) to addressing needs within their geographic region (Get Out Cincinnati) (Watershed Kids), to humanitarian efforts (Empower Out), our alumni are turning ideas into action and leading change.