Indoor Beautification, Welcoming Faces, Lunchroom Leaders, Construction Crew, Furry Friends, and League of Extraordinary Gentlemen - these are just a few of the 26 new Student Innovation Teams at Siegrist Elementary this year. Each PLC Wednesday, these groups, made up of students across all six grade levels (K-5), as well as all staff members, meet to develop and further their action plans, build their leadership skills, and make a positive impact on their school community and beyond.
School leaders visited a handful of area elementaries last year to take note of best practices in facilitating student leadership. They noticed that student leadership opportunities existed in various forms, and in late spring began to envision what Siegrist student leadership should look like. Staff members wanted to spark problem-solving, character development, and participation in the greater community within Siegrist’s student body through areas of interest of both staff and students. Prior to this effort, building improvement plans traditionally focused on staff input and participation exclusively; these Student Innovation Teams have provided a vehicle for a missing component: valuable student participation in bettering the school and community.
After introductions to all of the innovation teams (see list below), students chose three teams in which they were interested. Classroom teachers then placed students on teams they believed would not only include their interest, but foster growth for that student.
| Siegrist Student Innovation Teams|
|Circle of Friends|
Classroom Tech Experts
Compassion in Action
League of Extraordinary Gentlemen
Public Relations and Yearbook
Random Acts of Kindness
The overarching vision is to grow leadership skills and make a positive community impact through students’ personal areas of interest. So far this school year, teams have determined a purpose and have laid out action steps to complete over the course of the year. They have explored relationship-building, and have identified opportunities to mentor teammates, as well as lead the school community in their area of interest. Before their team meetings, all of Siegrist gather for a student-led assembly in which three or four teams update the school on their progress.
“Students and staff members have taken these roles and are exceeding our expectations,” Dr. Jennifer McClure, Principal stated. “The kids count down the time until they get to meet with their teams.”
“We love that the ideas students have explored already provide a unique approach and perspective to problem solve and improve our local environment,” Assistant Principal Kali Young added.
Staff members have noticed a new energy at the school on these days, and students are thinking about things in new ways. This approach has created a new sense of pride. Dr. McClure notes that in between meetings, students will stop her to share new ideas for their Innovation Teams. Siegrist sees this as a great extension of the Pirates R.O.C.K. character education program as well as the 7 Habits of Happy Kids.