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Latest CCL Survey Shows Continued Impact of Lead From Here

The lessons we glean from just about any success story are found in that space where personal anecdotes and impressions meet the broader understanding provided by data and observation.

In the case of Lead From Here, Ravenscroft’s signature citizen leadership framework, the feelings have been validated by the numbers, giving school leaders and our partners at the Center for Creative Leadership continued confidence that the initiative is making a difference for our students, teachers and families.

Last spring, which marked the sixth year since LFH’s schoolwide implementation, these groups participated in a longitudinal study of the program’s impact. Faculty, parents and students in third through 12th grades, whose insights into LFH were last measured in 2017, weighed in on where, how and how often they were seeing the competencies identified as essential for 21st-century leadership.

The results suggest that students are gaining a deeper understanding of LFH over time. Students also reported using LFH competencies more, seeing more use in their peers and seeing their teachers employ facilitation skills — which foster a student-centered classroom where the teacher acts as facilitator rather than subject-matter expert — to a greater degree than in the past.

Parent and teacher survey results support those findings as well. For Lower School teacher Denise Simpson, currently teaching third grade, the survey reflects what she sees every day.

“Since I have been at Ravenscroft, which is now my 20th year, I have witnessed many changes. The Lead From Here initiative is quite evident in my classroom,” she said. “My students know what it means to be self-aware as they apply accountability and responsibility to leading themselves. There is a thread of kind and caring behavior throughout the Lower School as the students lead with others in a positive way. There is more collaboration among students now, as they work in teams to discover new learning during the school day.”

All of this points to the continuing impact of the framework over time, said Colleen Ramsden, associate head of school for academics and student life.

“The most important takeaway of the survey is that students are seeing the impact of Lead From Here in themselves, their peers and their teachers — and more feel this way than when they were asked two years ago,” she said. 

CCL’s Valerie Ehrlich, who compiled and reviewed the data, agreed. Of particular significance, she said, is the increase in student engagement over time, especially for students in the Middle School.

“We know that engagement with school drives student success. Typically, research shows that student engagement decreases over time, from elementary to high school. It often takes the biggest dip in middle school,” she said. “Practitioners usually hope that programs or interventions can help buffer this, but our data shows that Ravenscroft isn’t just buffering the expected effects, it’s improving student engagement. Our hypothesis is that the self and interpersonal development skills that are part of LFH culture are contributing to this.”

“I talked to my students about changes they have noticed,” Simpson noted. “They made observations such as ‘We care about each other more now and try to help each other learn’ and ‘We are really aware of being kind to each other and how it affects everyone.’” 

For Upper School math instructor Breanne Rodino, an experienced teacher and coach who is new to Ravenscroft this year, the framework is a game-changer.

“The Lead From Here curriculum was a driving factor in my choice to join the Ravenscroft faculty,” she said. “Knowing that the entire Ravenscroft community both values and prioritizes leadership in each student is remarkable to me. We are building more authentic relationships within this community than any other academic setting I have been a part of. Being able to demonstrate to students, at all ages, the value of leadership allows us to focus on the overall people and citizens that we are striving to develop.”

School leaders also identified ways in which the survey results helped shape their next steps. One priority, Ramsden said, is for each division to ensure LFH continues to be implemented with the same enthusiasm and consistency as it has thus far. 

“We need everyone to be accountable,” she said, adding that the ongoing longitudinal studies performed by CCL will be essential to measuring and understanding LFH’s success over time.

In addition, Ramsden is looking at ways to help parents stay involved.

“We’d like for more parents to attend our LFH parent sessions, which help them understand and support the work their students are doing at school,” she said. “We’re looking into the possibility of some online content for parents who want to attend but can’t.”

Read CCL’s LFH Faculty Update on the survey here.

Learn about upcoming parent education opportunities here

Read “Spheres of Influence,” our Spring 2019 magazine feature on citizen leadership, here.