This Week in Leadership Class

Alzar School | 01.05.19

When describing the Capstone Leadership Course (CLC) we often fall back on Alzar School’s Curriculum Guide which describes the class as, “an in-depth analysis of what it means to be an effective leader and make change within their communities.” But what really happens in the Capstone Leadership Course at Alzar School?

The funky tune of Motown hits welcome 9 students as they file into the Patagonia Learning Center. This week in the CLC, students are diving further into planning their Culminating Leadership Projects (CLPs.) So far, students have been identifying issues in their home communities and brainstorming lots of ideas on how to address these problems. Today, using Odyssey Plans, students will begin to focus on one idea and identify the challenges and resources they will have implementing their projects.

In reviewing the previous class’ reading on Odyssey Plans, Hattie, Alzar School’s leadership teacher, asks students, “What is an Odyssey Plan?” “It gives you a visual map and timeline of your CLP,” Claudia correctly answers. Odyssey Plans are a project planning tool that helps students develop a scope of work and gauge the resources, passion, confidence, and coherence of an idea. “What are the components of our Odyssey plans?” Hattie inquires. “CLP idea,” replies Kylee. “Resources,” adds Molly. Community need, coherency (or how the project aligns with a student’s life and service views) and other life happenings are also added to the list Hattie scribes on the whiteboard.

Students in the Capstone Leadership Class.

Hattie reiterates the last point. “It’s important to look at our lives outside our CLPs. Ask yourself big questions,” Hattie challenges students. “Like, ‘how am I going to fit my CLP into my college applications and visits?’” Throughout her lesson, Hattie expertly utilizes the 10-elements of leadership terminology. As students look at their life calendars over the next year, Hattie encourages them that “this is a good practice of Accurate Awareness and 360° Thinking” This comprehensive and higher-order thinking helps students design CLPs that are feasible in both timing and intensity and that are best suited for their young lives.

Over the next weeks, students are to develop 3, increasingly complex Odyssey Plans for one or multiple of their CLP ideas. Grace has an innovative idea to start a group or program to encourage students to delete their social media apps during the weekdays in order to help teens “stay focused at school and start with a clean slate.” Rowan is working on bringing a triathlon to his home community, whereas Lauren has too many good ideas to count. As students work on their Odyssey Plans, they will narrow their focus on CLP ideas that are practical, implementable and impactful. Through student Culminating Leadership Projects and through the planning process itself, Alzar School is building leaders who will positively impact the world.