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I have developed a Leadership Studies curriculum at my school where students can enroll and take two semesters of leadership courses.

Leadership Studies Class/Curriculum

South Fayette Township, United States
Students learn about leadership and through a partnership I developed with the University of Pittsburgh, can earn college credit. Students learn different theories, such as Kouzes & Posner's Leadership Challenge, the Social Change Model, Strengths Based Leadership, emotional intelligence, ethics, Servant-Leadership, and about themselves as leaders on a personal, organizational, and global level.

How to teach leadership to students

The bourgeoning field of leadership studies continues to expand, and more colleges and universities are adding leadership courses, as well as certificate, minors, and majors in leadership. This trend is also beginning to enter secondary schools.

Ten years ago I received approval from my school to offer a semester course on leadership to students. This class is open to all students in grades 9-12 with no prerequisites and is an elective course. Two years ago, my school approved a second semester of this class.

After receiving the approval for the second semester, I reached out to the University of Pittsburgh, and in working with their College in High School (CHS) office, received approval to offer my class as the equivalent to their Theories of Leadership course. If students take both semesters of my class, they are eligible to receive three credits from the University of Pittsburgh. If they attend the University of Pittsburgh, this class is the first required course to earn the Leadership Certificate on campus.

The course content is also aligned with the NASSP NatStuCo Distinguished Student Leader Recognition Program, so that students who are taking the course who also participate in student council can earn recognition from NASSP as a distinguished student leader as well. 

Students in my classes are exposed to a variety of leadership theories, including:

- Situational Leadership

- The Relational Leadership Model

- Strengths-based Leadership

- Ethical Leadership

- Servant-Leadership 

- The Social Change Model of Leadership

- Kouzes & Posner Five Practices of Exemplary Leadership

Additionally, there are a variety of other topics, including mindfulness, power & influence, conflict resolution, project management, organizational change, group dynamics, and others that are covered in the class.

Students are exposed to leadership on the personal, organizational, and global levels to help them develop their leadership efficacy and so that they can see themselves in a leadership role. It helps improve student voice and engagement and empowers them to make a difference in their school and community. The course requires students to both perform community service as well as implement a leadership project, so that they can see the practical application of leadership. 

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Innovation Overview
14 - 18
Age Group
Tips for implementation
There are a variety of sources that could assist in establishing a leadership curriculum at a school, including: Texts: • Covey, S. (2014). The 7 habits of highly effective teens. New York, NY: Touchstone. • Keith, K. M. (2015). The case for servant leadership (2nd ed.). Westfield, IN: Greenleaf Center for Servant Leadership. • Kogon, K., Blakemore, S., & Wood, J. (2015). Project management for the unofficial project manager. Dallas, TX: BenBella Books. • Komives, S. R., & Wagner, W. (2009). Leadership for a better world: Understanding the social change model of leadership development. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass. • Kouzes, J. M., & Posner, B. Z. (2006). A leaders legacy. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. • Kouzes, J. M., & Posner, B. Z. (2013). The student leadership challenge (2nd ed.). Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons. • Palmer, P. (2009). Let Your Life Speak. Listening for the Voice of Vocation. John Wiley & Sons. • Stone, D., Patton, B., & Heen, S. (2010). Difficult conversations: How to discuss what matters most (10th Anniversary Edition ed.). New York, NY: Penguin. Online resources: Gallup CliftonStrengths for Students: VIA Assessment of Character Strengths: Overcoming Obstacles: Otter Cares: Medal of Honor Foundation: Random Acts of Kindness Foundation: Virginia Leadership Standards and Lessons: Character Lab: Character Strong: Growing Leaders/Habitudes: Student Leadership Challenge: National Clearinghouse for Leadership Programs list of Leadership Class Syllibi:
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Determine Desired Learning Units and Outcomes
The first step is to determine what outcomes are desired from the curriculum.
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Identify a Lead Faculty Member
The next step is to determine who will teach the class.
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Implement Course
After identifying outcomes and a faculty member, the course can be implemented.
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