The goal of our leadership program is to help each student recognize their strengths and improve upon their weaknesses. In each instance, our students will grow and develop by taking action as leaders here at Calvert. The underlying premise is that each student has the potential to be a leader, and leadership can be taught just like any other discipline such as math or science.
Unlike many K-12 schools where the leadership opportunities are reserved for high schoolers, at Calvert, our middle schoolers are tasked with taking on these important roles. The emphasis on community leadership perfectly aligns with the developmental needs of our students as they grow into young adults. This reflects the true secret of a K-8 school, where our greatest strength is empowering the students when they need it most.
Eighth Grade Leadership Program
The Eighth Grade program begins in the spring of the Seventh Grade year as students apply for positions as school leaders. In 2015, twenty-eight students applied, and these students now serve as Calvert Captains, Diversity Club coordinators, and members of our Black & Gold Committee. Calvert Captains oversee community spirit events celebrating athletic events and holidays. The Diversity Club leads our annual International Week festivities and represents Calvert at the regional Student Diversity Conference each winter. Finally, the Black & Gold Committee is tasked with leading fun intra-school contests and assemblies each month.
Beyond these positions, all Eighth Graders have a myriad of leadership opportunities in their final year, from serving as a sports team captain to leads in the winter musical to heading our school yearbook. A group of Eighth Grade volunteer leaders also works with the faculty grade chair to plan and lead the Dixon Dinner and Graduation ceremonies, two culminating traditions of the Calvert School experience. Ultimately our Eighth Graders walk away from Calvert knowing they have truly left their mark on the school they love.
Eighth Grade Reflections
In Eighth Grade, each student writes and delivers a meaningful reflection speech at a Middle School assembly. The speech writing process begins four weeks in advance of the assembly, and students have two faculty advisors in this process. One serves as a writing mentor who advises them on speech writing and brainstorming, and the other as a speech coach who prepares the student for public speaking. Throughout the writing process, students formalize their speech and discover how to communicate most effectively with their audience. Speech topics have ranged from everyday heroes to lower school memories to international charity work to illness within a family. These speeches foster character in our Eighth Graders and excellence in our community.
Seventh Grade Leadership Course
In Seventh Grade, all students participate in a weekly leadership course, which provides a platform for leadership development with discussion, practice, and reflection. In concert with this course, each Seventh Grade student will serve as a leader in a Calvert admission, community outreach, or spirit event on campus. This course is a testament to our belief that each student can be a leader. In addition, we also have a speaker series each quarter that introduces our students to Baltimore community leaders who inspire and challenge our boys and girls to reach their potential. The mission behind all these efforts is simple: inspire students to make a difference.
In Fifth through Seventh Grades, students volunteer to work on grade-specific activities focused on student life, social events, and community outreach. The purpose of the grade council program is to encourage students to be proactive in improving the student experience while allowing them to work collaboratively with teachers and administrators.
AIMS Student Leadership Summit
In February each year, Calvert hosts a student leadership summit that welcomes Seventh and Eighth Grade students from a dozen area independent schools. The purpose of the summit is to bring Baltimore’s best middle schools together to inspire excellence in student leadership. Our student leaders play a key role in planning and leading the three-hour event and document the summit through pictures and videos. This is the perfect opportunity for us to celebrate our great leadership program and advocate for the pedagogy of leadership in local schools.