Leadership Shawnee Mission Pivots to Keep Serving Students

Leadership Shawnee Mission Pivots to Keep Serving Students
Shawnee Mission School District

Junior and senior students in the 2020-2021 class of Leadership Shawnee Mission are making connections and building relationships. The semester-long program began virtually, but recently, program participants were able to attend an in-person session at the Center for Academic Achievement. Leadership Shawnee Mission, an invitation-only development program of the Shawnee Mission Education Foundation.

The day was filled with interactive exercises focusing on communication and teamwork. The students have been reading “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” and completing thought exercises.

Representatives from the Tucker Leadership Lab at William Jewell College facilitated this leadership academy while following mask and distance protocols.

“The training experience was really enriched with the opportunity to meet the students in-person,” Al Leone, Tucker Leadership Lab director, noted. “The first session was virtual and it’s more of a challenge to build a team.”

“I learned how to interact with people who have different personalities,” Bianca Smith, SM Northwest junior shared. “This will help me when I get a job and help me to work with others and their unique personalities.”

Leadership Shawnee Mission, is usually an intensive three-week summer course coupled with an internship. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the course was rescheduled and reimagined. Instead of internships, this year students are working on client projects. Small groups are working to provide solutions to a variety of issues faced in the Shawnee Mission community including food insecurity and access to broadband internet.

“We appreciate the students’ flexibility and enthusiasm as we reinvented this year’s program,” Kim Hinkle, Shawnee Mission Education Foundation executive director, said.

Students participated in several activities that highlighted strengths and then participated in mini courses focusing on important leadership qualities like trust and reliability. “Even a simple game like Simon Says showed that everyone makes mistakes and you can come back from your errors, they don’t define you,” Tobias Campbell, senior at SM West, noted. Campbell plans to take the skills he’s learning in this course to college and then apply them to a medical career.

“We did a personality exercise and I came up as introverted, but I appreciated that our facilitators reinforced that even if you are introverted, you still have a voice,” Omar Martinez, SM North senior, shared. Martinez has enjoyed laughing with the team and sharing his opinion to a group that was open and accepting.

Leadership Shawnee Mission students will continue to meet throughout the second semester and present their projects at the final session in April.