Jared Scott, Caleb Campbell, and I have been on the road helping schools kick off their school year and the #1 strategy that we love to use to build school culture and empower student voice is our leadership summit program.
This program invites a small group of 25 – 75 student leaders together to discuss social-emotional issues on campus, and then challenges them to come up with student-created solutions that can help.
Jared’s favorite solution: Fun “Free Time” Friday
Student leaders wanted to bring back childhood recess to help ease some of the social-emotional pressures on campus. This event could be hosted weekly or monthly, but the goal would be to let students get back to their roots, have recess again, find their inner child, create positive memories at school, and decompress from the stress.
Caleb’s favorite solution: To Brightly Signal Student Leaders as Helpers
The plan is to have student leaders wear orange shirts on Fridays to signify that they are safe people that students can talk to if they are struggling with something at school or in life.
My favorite solution: Kindness Week
- Monday – Write a kind note to a friend
- Tuesday – Give a compliment to a stranger
- Wednesday – Pick up trash if you see it
- Thursday – Thank a teacher or staff member
- Friday – Make a new friend at lunch
These three very simple ideas were generated by asking students to solve the social-emotional issues on campus. This not only helps build school culture, but gives students the opportunity to have ownership and agency in the process.
So, take these ideas and use them. Or better yet, talk to your admin team about hosting a student leadership summit this fall. It is so easy to do! You just need 2-3 hours with 25 – 75 student leaders, some poster boards, tons of markers, and a few fun activities!
And if you find yourself needing help, give us a call, we would be happy to jump into the fire with you.
teentruth.net/summit to learn more about our work.
JC Pohl, LMFT
President & CEO, TEEN TRUTH