Friday, September 14, 2012

Leadership Development


In the 23 years that I have been here at Loara as a contracted teacher (25 years total subbing / student teacher) I have been personally involved in the leadership development of many students.  Whether it be through Student Government, classroom curriculum, Yearbook, Newspaper, on the pool deck coaching Water-polo and Swimming or the short lived Conflict Management, my goal has always been to show anyone willing to learn what it means to be a leader at school and in society.

Loara has always had a strong sense of self and has always had a strong student led philosopy.  We have many organizations now that have stepped up to show our students a pathway to self leadership and a pathway towards service.  Whether it be through Key Club, Bridges, JROTC, Production Media, Avid, Band and the likes, our kids take the lead.

Leadership Development Day

AUHSD Junior High School Delegates
Today, September 14, 2012, Loara had the opportunity to train 216 Junior High delegates with advisers from Ball, Brookhurst, Dale, Lexington, Orangeview, South, Sycamore, Walker and Buena Park.  We did all this using 25 Loara High School Student Government (ASB) kids and 10 California Association of Student Leaders State Board members.  This marks the first time in several years in the current history of the Anaheim Union High School District that all of the student government classes have been together for a day of training.  In the years prior to 2000 ASB's would attend workshops and conferences to train their kids for the leadership of the 21st century, but with redevelopment of schools and programs it has been hard to get them all together under one roof.

Why is it significant to write a post about this you may ask?  Today marks a turn, a change, a movement into the right direction in this district that supports the idea that the x factor in schools today is teaching Student Leadership to all.  As the current Past President of a state wide organization CADA (California Association of Directors of Activities) I have re-discovered, with the help of the Alliance 4 Student Activities, that the x factor in schools is student activities ... x = student activities.  Today we are using a model developed by CADA to bring Leadership Development to the Junior High Schools Directly, CADA calls them Leadership Development Days and with the help of the state coordinator Sandi Kurland, Leadership Development they got.

A Leadership Development Day is a day of leadership training delivered in a partnership style while working in small groups of school student leaders. Using experiential activities and the related applications this teaches specific skills and enriches group dynamics.

250 Student Leaders
The curriculum centers on skills related to teambuilding, communication, learning through experience and evaluation, including more students in the leadership base, utilizing individual’s strengths, risk taking and getting involved in a positive way! The day concludes with a unique group activity pulling together all of the components of the day.

The Alliance for Student Activities has created an engaging presentation that pulls together the most current research, dialogue and thinging about the impact of co curricular activities on student performance.  Participation in student activities increases students' standardized test scores, GPAs, graduation rates, college acceptance rates and college success rates.  It practically eliminates the likelihood that a student will choose to drop out of high school.  Studdent activities develop core social and emotional skills while reducing high-risk behavioral problems and long term puclic assistance needs.  Student activies are a bargain, as the average school district spends less than 3% of their overall operating budget to support them. (and 100% of student budgets, not federal or state but student generated, are spent to support other kids)

A Big Deal

In the past 28 years at Loara, there have only been two Activities Directors and during those years (both have worked side by side all of those years, Paul as Alden's assistant and Alden in retirement helping Paul).   Both have won the state and regional title Warren E Shull Adviser of the Year and Alden Esping, has won the National title.  The region covers California, Washington, Oregon, Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Utah and Hawaii.  This is a big deal for one school and it's a big deal for the nation. Both have served as the President of CADA State Board, and both have spoken Nationally about Student Leadership and student empowerment.  This being said, we care about cultivating leaders at Loara and that is a big deal.

In recent years with the team of Paul Chylinski (class of 82), Assistant Activities Director David Sporn (class of 90)  and Accounts Technician Toni Stroud (who is celebrating a birthday today) Loara has been truly dedicated in continuing the active leadership development of all at Loara High School.

Today Loara salutes the Junior High's in the hopes that in their journey they find a lifetime of service and leadership.


  1. Awesome! Leadership is so needed at all levels! Great to see you and my alma mater playing a leading role in equipping the next generation!
    Rommel Anacan
    C/O 92

  2. So happy to see this good work. The leadership principles I learned at Loara have continued to guide me :)
    c/o 2005