Group of leadership students at Forest Park High School

Since the start of the school year, students in the leadership classes at Forest Park High School have executed events in their school and across the community. These projects demonstrate the skills they are fostering in the class, and this year, they are also showcasing the students’ knowledge of the school division’s Strategic Plan, as it is inspiring their work.

"At the beginning of the school year, we had a bunch of project ideas, [and the students] were trying to decide what they wanted to do,” shared Susan Gonzalez, leadership teacher at Forest Park High. “Since [the class] is student-driven, I wanted them to think about their goals, so I gave them an idea of the scope [of the strategic plan]. I shared with them the four different commitments and explained a little bit about each one.”

Students then organized each project idea based on how it relates to one of the Strategic Plan commitments. Ava Njore, a level one leadership student at Forest Park, shared that she “realized that [the strategic plan] really is kind of like a map that helps us navigate through projects — what to choose [and what] not to choose.” Their chosen projects for this year include:

  • Painting inspiring messages on the stairs at Forest Park.
  • Organizing appreciation dinners for local police officers and firefighters.
  • Partnering with Ashland Elementary School to host a Toys for Tots drive.

With a student-focused mission, the strategic plan is a guide for educators and school leaders, but students like Miguel Kamgaing, a level three leadership student at Forest Park, like that it can guide students’ work as well. Kamgaing is particularly inspired by Commitment One, Learning and Achievement for All, that focuses on providing academic excellence for all students.

“One of the projects we do is mentoring younger students at local Title I schools,” explained Kamgaing. “Through strategic planning, and with an understanding of the [commitments], we have seen how [our projects] can help students meet the goals.”

Superintendent Dr. LaTanya D. McDade recognized the students' work and visited the group in the fall. They presented their projects to Dr. McDade who, Gonzalez shared, seemed to be “in awe of the fact that they had several different projects that aligned to the four [commitments].”

“It was not just that we had one project for the four areas. We had multiple, and I think she was visually able to see that,” said Gonzalez. “She saw [more than] just her vision. She also saw some cohesiveness between her scope, my scope, the school’s scope, and the students’ scope.”

The students will compete at a Family, Career, and Community Leaders of America leadership conference, where they will share their projects and demonstrate their acquired skills.

Students from leadership classes at Forest Park High School completing community service projects