Leadership Homework on Expedition

Alzar School | 17.04.19

Before leaving for our Idaho expeditions, students in the Capstone Leadership Course discussed the homework assignments expected of them while out exploring the Owyhee Canyonlands and river. One assignment is to complete portions of their individual Leadership Portfolio. This document acts as a record of an Alzar School student’s leadership experiences, outcomes, and learnings over the course of their semester.

One part of the Leadership Portfolio is the 10-Elements of Leadership Rubric. For this assignment, students were asked to think of 2 SMART (S-specific, M-measurable, A-ambitious, r-realistic, t-time-oriented) goals to attempt over expedition. Rowan wants to nail his kayaking roll. Leadership teacher, Hattie, prompts, “How will you do that? Will you start in flat water, ask for help in eddies?” Ruffin wants to keep his shoulder healthy throughout the trip. Grace wants to not lose or misplace any of her items. Kylee wants to look at the big picture when making decisions for the group. As students share their goals, they also mention which of the 10-Elements of Leadership their goal falls under. Molly wants to focus on Resilience and Resourcefulness by staying positive at all times, Ammie wants to work on her Personal Leadership and Follow-Through by being on time to all meals and study hall, and Claudia and Hannah want to work on their Technical Proficiency by learning to roll and how to better read maps.

Study hall on expedition.

Parallely, the Leadership Portfolio also includes an extensive checklist of technical skills. For each item, a staff member needs to verify that the student’s proficiency in that particular skill is adequate. Many of these skills will require students to be proactive. Asking to row the oar raft through a Class II rapid, taking the lead on properly blowing up an inflatable kayak, and navigating using a topographical map without staff support are all examples of technical skills students will tackle during this expedtion block.

Expeditions at Alzar School are highly anticipated and cherished because they break the norm of the typical high school week. However, there is also a lot of intentional preparing and learning that happens on expedition. Through both structured assignments and the experience of putting these lessons into practice, students gain valuable leadership skills while out on expedition.