In Edison Education Association (Middlesex County), a team of educators from John P. Stevens High School was awarded a $3,000 continuation grant from the NJEA Hipp Foundation. The team includes Emily Zazanis, Patricia D’Alessio, Anthony DiPalo, Heather Guas, Heather Reush, and Lisa Dato.
Without much advertisement, this continuation grant has taken its place in the school community. Teachers offer unsolicited feedback regarding the positive growth of the students involved. It is aimed at working with average students who have not completely embraced or have not become part of the school community, along with disadvantaged and unmotivated students who, with additional support, can reach their potential.
Teachers are asked to nominate tenth-grade students and a committee chooses 50 students to participate in the leadership training programs. New students are selected based on data including but not limited to attendance, discipline records, and club and athletic memberships. These students receive formal invitations with RSVP cards.
During the first meeting, students participate in the True Colors personality test and complete an activity in their color group. Students are then grouped based on their personality traits.
Each week, the group participates in a one-hour session focused on a leadership skill, such as motivation, active listening, collaboration, positive thinking, Maslow’s Hierarchy, mindfulness/yoga, etiquette, and presentation skills.
Refreshments are available at each session and all materials are provided by the school. Transportation is available for students who regularly are bussed to school. The rest are work sessions so that the groups may complete their school/community service projects.
A culminating activity includes a presentation to parents with a celebratory dessert.
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