At Williamsburg Intermediate, we aim to provide the highest quality, online project-based education available to intermediate age students.
We do this by offering an integrated curriculum with caring mentors, and engaging, meaningful projects. At the center of everything we do and offer is our Leadership course.
Our Leadership curriculum covers the following subjects:
- Self leadership
- Public leadership
- Heroes, Adventures, Gifts & Barriers
- Creative writing
- Crocodiles International Leadership concepts
- Effective study and scheduling concepts and habits
Self-control lies at the base of sound institutions of every level of society. In Leadership classes we explore what it means to lead one’s self, and we discuss how this base serves as a critical societal support.
Great leaders come in many shapes and sizes. We discuss what leadership means – individually and collectively. We do projects that help us to become the leader within.
We develop a personal repository of our own, personalized lessons pertaining to relationships, friendship, character, discipline and other personal leadership concepts. This serves as a sort of journal; a personal guide; a compilation of what inspires us most and helps us do our best even under challenging conditions.
Stories serve as inspirational guides along our path towards leadership. We read fictional and real accounts of people who faced incredible barriers and lived to share the lessons they learned.
Every person has the capacity to write with fluidity, thoughtfulness and creativity. We build this into our Leadership course because communication is such an essential element of life, and we want students to be prepared to lead through writing.
We have partnered with Roger Anthony and his team at Crocodiles International to bring students some of the most innovative, creative, applicable and memorable leadership curricula available today. Originally designed as a business leadership development program, Crocodiles International is an internationally acclaimed program that introduces animals that represent habits of leadership. As students learn about these habits, they accompany Raja, a human searching for his best self, on a journey of transformation. They learn that transformation is all about discovery, discovery of one’s true potential, the “real me.”
This journey starts only after we leave the “territory of the unaware and unwilling” and advance into the territory of the open, willing and aware. Each character we meet along the way introduces a leadership habit or concept that makes us more willing, aware and open to the “real me,” or our best selves.
We will cover the following animals and leadership characteristics in the 2014 – 2015 year: Mamoch (Making the Most of Change); Respa (Relax, Evaluate, Strategize, Patience, Act); Inrock (Integrity); Humil (Humility); Enligh (Enlightenment); Mafid (Allowances for differences); Forlov (Forgiveness); Maiba (balance); and Awar (Awareness).
Effective study and scheduling concepts and habits
Students who learn to study and schedule effectively in middle school are far more capable of excelling in high school and beyond. We mentor students in these topics through weekly study skills projects and exercises, and class time lessons and discussions. At the beginning of the year we rely on parents to schedule a weekly planning session with their students to review the coming week’s assignments and create a workable schedule with them. As the year progresses, we encourage students to take more responsibility for their weekly schedules. Our goal is to help students make life-long habits of effective studying and scheduling.
Youth moving from childhood to young adulthood are experiencing unfamiliar, uncomfortable change. At this age it is natural to begin asking questions about identity, potential, capacity and nature. They begin to push beyond boundaries of family and home, and their wonderings and wanderings move towards people and experiences outside of what they have previously known. At the same time, students this age often experience mini-crises when previous definitions of self-worth, truth, and friendship seem to collide or contrast with new experiences and ideas. Typically, pre-teens chart their course through this emotional wasteland without map or compass; they attempt to navigate based on shallow friendships, fluctuating emotions, unstable self-worth, and uncertainty about their future. They may push away parents and family without knowing why, and yet crave their praise and friendship without showing how valued those things still are to them.
At Williamsburg Intermediate, we begin every day by helping students discover the hidden potential for leadership in each challenge they face. Rather than seeing this time of life as a time to be endured, students come to see the unique opportunities before them. They begin to uncover nascent leadership capacities. They look more deeply at the change they are experiencing and learn to see change as a reason to reach higher, instead of an excuse for mediocrity.
In small classes with inspiring mentors, students learn to survey their lives and themselves with the help of unchanging truths; life soon feels less accidental and more creative. In Leadership classes students identify their own unique heroes, adventures, gifts and barriers, and establish patterns of turning to these guidelines. They learn that amidst changing hormones, friendships and circumstances, they can uncover their inner strengths and inspirations, and find anchoring guidance through purposeful patterns. The path of self-discovery becomes a joy and an adventure rather than mindless, purposeless race to the end.
How it works
Live class interaction
Live interaction in the Leadership courses centers around pod meetings, and tutor hours.
Leadership Pod Meetings. Students meet daily in groups of 12 to 15 with a leadership coach. In these personalized settings, students find daily inspiration and accountability. Small group meetings and leadership coaches are key elements in allowing each student to be known, be successful and be recognized for his or her educational efforts on a daily basis. We reflect on the lives of people who have overcome incredible odds; we share what we have learned about ourselves and each other; and we discuss inspirational literature. 8th graders meet in pods with other 8th graders. 6th and 7th graders meet in mixed grade-range pods.
Tutor hours: All Leadership Coaches have, either on Fridays during the regular class time or at another time throughout the week, an office hour or hours dedicated to meeting with students. This one-on-one time helps students focus and personalize their learning, and helps mentors get to know their students on a more personal, relatable level.
Individual work outside of class
In addition to seminars and pod meetings, students spend time outside of class working on readings, assignments and projects their mentor has assigned. Frequently these goals will intersect with other course material. For example, a student enrolled in the STEM course might make goals revolving around their work in STEM class, along with a personal leadership goal for that week. Students also spend time reading inspirational works and preparing to share what they have learned with their pod group, family and friends.