How Cesar Chavez Leadership Academy Is Helping Grow Leaders

Phoenix, AZ | Submitted by Andrea Groeninger

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For the more than 450 students at Cesar Chavez Leadership Academy in Phoenix, attending school isn’t a passive event. Every individual is actively involved every day through the school’s leadership initiative. The program is based on the children’s version of the highly popular “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” and teaches youth everything from personal responsibility to communication and initiative.

After teachers have been trained on implementing the program, both in their own lives, and on incorporating it into the classroom, students are introduced to the 7 habits through direct instruction. But the language of leadership is also woven into everyday lessons and even the school’s assemblies. Youth are encouraged to:

1. Be proactive
2. Begin with the end in mind
3. Put first things first
4. Think win-win
5. Seek first to understand, then to be understood
6. Synergize
7. Sharpen the saw, by having a balanced life

Students are responsible for greeting people, making the daily announcements, and much more. To foster their leadership skills, the school is regularly evaluating what roles the students can play and how the can be more actively involved in the education process.

Outside of daily tasks, students also undertake bigger projects. For instance, three seventh graders at the school recently planned and orchestrated their annual Cesar Chavez Day, which included an assembly and parade.

The active ownership that the leadership program encourages has led to more involvement from both children and their parents. Everyone is more engaged and knows that their opinion matters at the school. Leadership at Cesar Chavez has been impressed with how students are advocating for themselves, and how the leadership learning has led to fewer chronic absences.

The school’s community focus, along with the active engagement of students, is creating an engaging and exciting learning environment.

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