Learning to Lead

  • Project Cost: $980.00
  • Teacher Name: Meredith Wisniewski
  • School: Springfield Scholars Program -- Phelps Center for Gifted Education
  • Grade Level: 6th grade
  • Description:

    The purpose of this project is to send the 6th grade Scholars students on a team-building trip to the Leadership Ranch. The Leadership Ranch aims to help youth develop into leaders; their activities promote empathy, effective communication, confidence, trust, and the importance of teamwork. The Springfield Scholars Program is a full-time gifted program for students in grades 6-8, housed at Central High School. The Scholars Program strives to provide not just academic rigor but opportunities for creativity, problem-solving, and other higher order thinking skills while fostering social and emotional development. The skills taught at the Leadership Ranch are among the competencies — which encompass interpersonal, intrapersonal, and cognitive skills — identified by Kansas University as essential for success in and out of the classroom. Phelps Center for Gifted Education has been working closely with KU on this affective framework.
    Additionally, given that our students come to us from all over Springfield and often do not know one another we feel it is essential to establish connections and create community at the beginning of the school year. These students will spend the next three years together, so forming bonds early will allow them to strengthen with time.

  • Planned Use for Funds: The funds will be used to provide district transportation to the Leadership Ranch and to pay for the students’ participation fees.
  • Need Represented: The trip to the Leadership Ranch fulfills the social and emotional needs of our students. Affective growth is a key component of our gifted curriculum, and this trip would be an authentic opportunity to demonstrate the competencies our students have been learning in the classroom.
    Due to the costs associated with this trip, students may not be able to afford to attend without support. We do not believe cost should be an obstacle to student learning.
  • Academic Impact: Collaboration, communication, and critical thinking are essential 21st century skills. As research notes, there is clear overlap between the interpersonal, intrapersonal, and cognitive competencies. Our time at the Leadership Ranch will provide students opportunities to put these skills into practice and to learn strategies for success, which will directly impact academic achievement.
  • Student Population: Our program admits 45 students as sixth graders each year. All of these students have been identified as gifted. Many have attended WINGS or Bridges as elementary students, although for some our program will be the first time they have received gifted programming. A majority of our students have attended Springfield Public Schools previously, though some have joined us from private schools, homeschool, or from out of district. While the population varies based on applicant demographics, we consistently enroll students from the entire Springfield attendance area representing different socioeconomic backgrounds.

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