Leaders and Role Models


At the beginning of each school year I coordinate the welcome back assembly for the elementary school. Last year I asked our music teachers and fifth grade teachers to help create a new tradition for our Grade 5 students. After all, this is the final year in elementary school for these students!

One hallmark for the fifth grade students is that they take their place of honor on the bleachers for assemblies. (Since we don’t have enough bleachers for all students, the other children sit on the gym floor for assemblies.) However, rather than just having the fifth graders enter and sit on the bleachers I wanted to somehow mark the occasion and highlight their new position as leaders and role models for all of the other elementary students.

The teachers and I worked together to come up with a special entrance: once all of the students from prekindergarten through fourth grade are seated, the music teachers and some of our counselors drum a rhythm while the fifth graders and their teachers make their way in to the beat of the drums. Here’s what it looked like this year:

Once at the bleachers, the fifth graders sing a welcoming song to open the assembly. Then our principal welcomes everyone and shares inspirational words about how important leaders and role models are, and how we’re all looking to our fifth graders as they take on this important responsibility.

While this is only the second year that we’ve included this special Grade 5 entrance, it seems to already be firmly entrenched as a tradition. One student’s mother told me that her daughter can hardly wait until next year when she gets to march in to the first assembly and be a leader for the school. How awesome is that?

assembly-speakersAnother goal for our assemblies is to have students help plan and lead them. While this is a bit tricky for our first assembly since it takes place just a few days after school begins, I gathered a group of students to introduce and speak this year. As the year progresses our Student Council members become more involved and help lead the assemblies, which is such a meaningful activity for them.

This year I’m thinking about how we might have even more students involved including those students who might not always see themselves as leaders or have opportunities to lead. After all, at ASD one of the ways that we work to achieve our mission is to “support every child to embody the skills and characteristics of the Student Profile.” One characteristic of our Student Profile is for each student to be prepared to be successful as a leader/role model who inspires and guides. For many students, having a voice in planning and leading our assemblies is the perfect leadership and role model opportunity. And more student voice, more student leadership opportunities, and more students feeling pride in themselves and their school makes for a more joyful school.


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