Challenging Change In Education: Building Young Leaders

A few weeks ago, I wrote about the possibility of an online degree plus experience being more valuable than a traditional college degree by itself.

Adapting to Our World: will an online degree plus experience and skills be greater than a traditional college degree?

 I’d like to take that one step further and touch on a second quality that employers are thirsting for in their new recruits…LEADERSHIP SKILLS.

Just as online degrees are challenging and changing the scope of education, so too are schools that are breaking from traditional academic tracks.

 Phi Delta Kappan recently published an article “Developing a Billion Leaders,” written by Christopher Gergen, Lyndon Rego and Joel Wright, which speaks about preparing leaders for a changing world through the development of leadership skills in school-aged children.

The article goes on to support the need to teach the next generation how to navigate change, embrace and leverage diversity and lead themselves as well as with others.

There are three schools across the globe, in partnership with the Center for Creative Leadership (CCL) setting the stage for taking leadership as seriously as academics:

 Ravenscroft School, Raleigh, North Carolina, U.S.A.

African Leadership Academy (ALA), Johannesburg, South Africa

Riverside School, Ahmedabad, India

Ravenscroft School, a pre-K – 12 independent school, has been building their Lead From Here initiative for the past couple of years, which involves incorporating leadership in all grades and classes. By partnering with CCL, the two organizations co-created a citizen leader framework with developmental competencies that guide the work, including Leading self, Leading with others, and Changing your world.

 “These are non-negotiable skills for our students and represent a critical path forward for our school. The world is demanding leaders who are self-aware, collaborative, and proactive problem solvers, and we are committed to helping all members of our community get there,” said Doreen Kelly, Ravenscroft’s head of school.

 The African Leadership Academy, a private boarding school for 15-19 year-olds are working with CCL to create a framework to further develop leadership potential and entrepreneurial spirit in young adults.

ALA is using the program to expose these young leaders to opportunities, mentors, and transformative learning experiences that fundamentally change the trajectory of their lives and prepare them to be Africa’s next generation of change makers.

Their goal: Over the next 50 years, the Academy wants to transform Africa by developing a powerful network of over 6,000 leaders who will work together to achieve extraordinary social impact.

 Riverside School also has a strong focus on leadership development. Their intent is to develop students who have both passion and compassion. The focus is not just academic skills but also what the school frames as the 21st-century skills of collaborative enterprise — agency, empathy, problem solving, and critical thinking.

It’s refreshing to see that some school are realizing what the future holds and are not afraid to try new and innovative ways to educate our next generation to compete in what Ravenscroft describes as a complex and interdependent World.


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