Nearly 100 Upper School student leaders recently gathered on a Saturday to participate in a day-long leadership development workshop with a focus on building an inclusive school community. Representatives from the five campus leadership groups –Admission Ambassadors, Associated Student Body, Honor Committee, Peer Counselors and TIDE (Tartan Inclusivity and Diversity Education) – actively engaged in learning about leadership models and developing skills to shape a campus culture that makes all members of the Upper School community feel welcome. Students were joined by the adult advisors of their leadership groups and members of the school’s Diversity and Inclusivity Committee.
The workshop was led by national leadership and diversity trainer Rosetta Lee. Ms. Lee is a faculty member at Seattle Girls’ School and serves on the faculty of the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS) Summer Diversity Institute. Ms. Lee has presented workshops at more than 50 kindergarten through grade 12 independent and public schools nationwide as well as at colleges and universities.
Ms. Lee presented several leadership models, including servant leadership and The Leadership Challenge framework based on five practices of exemplary leadership: model the way, inspire a shared vision, challenge the process, enable others to act and encourage the heart. Participants reflected on their own personal leadership styles and engaged in small group discussions on how they came to assume leadership roles.
Ms. Lee then led participants through an exercise to understand the various elements that make up individual identities and the importance of affirming and celebrating differences when creating an inclusive school community. Ms. Lee shared strategies for addressing biased behavior and led an exercise where students practiced these tools in role play situations.
TIDE member and junior Sabine Scott commented, “I feel that working with Rosetta Lee helped our student leaders to understand the different ways people in our community identify, and how to interrupt negative behaviors based on offensive words and stereotypes. Also, participating in the workshop with other student leaders helped create a meaningful support system between the different leadership groups, because after the workshop we realized that there is a lot of overlap between the missions of our groups.”
Ms. Lee closed with powerful advice for students to support one another as leaders and maintain the momentum of their leadership by reaching out to younger students to groom rising leaders. “In this way, you will lay the foundation for your legacy,” she imparted.
“Leadership development is central to our mission of educating the hearts and minds of young people for lives of learning, leadership and service,” said Upper School Assistant Principal Ryan Dahlem, advisor to the Honor Committee and chair of the Diversity and Inclusivity Committee. “Rosetta’s workshop brilliantly wove together the essentials of strong leadership and the importance of including all members of a community when carrying out leadership roles. Today’s presentation empowers our students as leaders at St. Margaret’s and, most importantly, in their lives beyond graduation.”
Future leadership development opportunities in the Upper School include a public speaking workshop and discussions on the ethics of leadership.