PPS Parent Leaders Push Beyond the Curriculum

Wanting to empower fifth grade girls to stretch beyond the mandated school curriculum, PPS Parent Leadership Institute graduates Carley Johnston and Amy Tate used their newly-learned leadership skills to establish a leadership academy at Lawhon Elementary School in Tupelo, Mississippi. Carley and Amy, with support from the school’s principal, formed a leadership academy comprised of a diverse group of 18 fifth grade girls. The leadership academy met weekly, with each meeting having a guest speaker who focused on a specific skill or topic. Some of the topics presented at the leadership academy meetings included improving listening skills, resisting peer pressure, identifying role models, making good decisions, and setting goals. Leadership academy speakers included representatives from the Chamber of Commerce, the Convention and Visitors Bureau, and a Mississippi state senator. Amy and Carley also recruited the Tennessee Valley Authority to participate as a contributing partner for the leadership academy.

The leadership academy meetings provided opportunities for fifth grade girls to hear expert speakers on various topics of relevance and interest. Many of the girls may have never had the opportunity to learn about these topics had they not participated in the leadership academy. Amy and Carley also facilitated interactive discussions with the girls on the importance of goal setting and how to plan the steps to help them achieve their goals.

As a result of participating in the leadership academy, several girls said they hoped to one day serve as pages in the Mississippi legislature. All of the fifth grade girls who participated in the leadership academy reported learning that integrity and hard work can lead to rewarding careers, and how important it is to take active roles and responsibility in improving their communities. Up next: a leadership academy for boys!