June 22, 2023
Connecting the Many Perspectives in Learning
“Meeting new people from different schools was a nice experience, along with working with them. This is the first Leadership Summit I’ve attended, and it won’t be my last.” This evaluation comment from a participant who attended the 2023 Service Leadership Summit in February at Glenelg Country School (GCS) demonstrates the value of interschool learning and collaboration on topics of mutual interest.
The school’s Community Service Club, with advisor David Weeks’s guidance, established the sustainability theme for the summit. Zachary Schulman ’23, the club’s president, welcomed summit participants. Representatives from three AIMS schools complemented GCS students: Boys Latin, Gilman, and St. Timothy. The day began with icebreakers and team-building activities introduced by leadership expert Craig Culp. Weeks partnered with Culp in adapting the conceptual model of vision, alignment, and execution to student interpretations of sustainability in different contexts for the future.
Working in small groups, students collaborated on their vision for a sustainable future and described its stakeholders. Prioritizing necessary steps emerged while developing an action plan. After creating each group’s strategy, participants depicted their sustainability plan on a poster. Finally, the students shared their creative posters in a “gallery walk.”
From sustainability visions, students engaged in a discussion of their most valued service projects. They learned how to elevate their voices in their school communities by advocating for service initiatives. After lunch, participants considered their most valuable service activities and possible ways to achieve interschool collaboration on a community service project.
The interschool sharing of ideas enabled students to view service possibilities through different lenses. Although the students longed to gain additional perspectives from representatives of other schools, they recognized the day’s potential to be even more valuable with more interschool engagement. As one of the participants proclaimed in the final evaluation, “This Summit exceeded my expectations in terms of the extremely beneficial skills and learning with groups and individually about making a change and how to create growth for others and ourselves.”