When these Clear Lake Elementary students leave their classrooms, they get busy drafting mission and vision statements for their school.
“When you’ve got elementary kids learning how to do mission and vision statements – and I wrestle with 40-year-olds who don’t know how to do that – it’s incredible. It’s incredible that we’re preparing kids to live out in this real world.”
Tom Donnelly, the board of education president, was pleasantly surprised by Clear Lake’s Leadership Team while three students presented to Donnelly and his colleagues at the board’s Oct. 30 meeting.
Many of the other board members were also impressed with the students, noting the experience the team gives them for the working world.
“If you take a look at any colleges or you take a look at any corporations, even the one that I work with, they have leadership departments or they have programs and services allocated to leadership,” said Board Treasurer Jenny Guthrie. “So, I wanted to thank (Clear Lake) very much for offering our students a leadership team opportunity. I just think that it’s fantastic, and they’re learning skills… that I work with every day in the board room with corporations.”
Clear Lake teacher Stephanie Niemi started the program last year when she noticed the school’s lack of a student council. Students in the third, fourth and fifth grades are nominated by their teachers for the team and help school officials better the school.
Aside from thinking of what they want to accomplish during their time as students at Clear Lake, the club also recognizes other students who are doing well or showing admirable principles in the classroom. The kids meet “at least” once every month
The three students who presented dressed in business attire and impressed the board with their courage to speak in front of the crowd, which was rather large that night. They spoke of what the club has given them in their young age.
“Each year we focus on three attributes as a school,” said Carter, a student on the team. “Last year, we chose caring, thinker and principled as the three things we wanted to focus on. Each month, teachers nominate three students from their class that have shown (the attributes) the Leadership Team is in charge of handing out certificates and making them known to the school.”
Niemi said since the program is relatively young, she and administration are always looking for new things to have the kids work on. This year, they started an initiative dubbed #ClearLakeCares, in which the students will help teachers and members of the PTO foster goodwill and a sense of community among the other students. She finds her role in advising the team rather rewarding.
“It’s pretty exciting to see them from last year and go as leaders into this year, and then the following year,” Niemi said.