Northport Students Host School Board Member Deborah Hawley for Leadership Summit

Northport K-8 Media Services program held the student’s fifth monthly Leadership Summit recently in the school’s Media Center. The Leadership Summit is an opportunity for middle grades students to become aware of leadership skills, to learn about leadership style and to learn how to step forward and use the skills learned in their own lives. The Leadership Summit’s are progressively becoming more and more student- driven as children become more comfortable with the open format of learning and the ability to pose critical focus questions. The questions that students pose to community leaders are authentic and often times, hardball questions. Students have amassed a list of leadership qualities that each can aspire to including, loving the people that you lead, flexibility and organizational skills, respect the people that you are leading, capable of seeing the “big picture,” giving much positive feedback, the ability to delegate and not micromanage, humor, being a constant learner and most importantly, according to the students, integrity.

The community leader to guest the fifth Leadership Summit was Saint Lucie County School Board member, Debbie Hawley. Mrs. Hawley answered focus driven questions that students had prepared beforehand and then answered extemporaneous questions with equal attention. The students questioned Mrs. Hawley on a wide array of topics such as dress code, bus stop safety, school lunches, computer access and the use of cell phones in the classroom.. Examples of student driven, deeper level questions were, “Can you explain the new test that will replace the FCAT?”, “Why do students have so many tests, including Easy CBM, Classworks and all aspects of the FCAT?”, “Why did you choose to become a school board member?”, “Why can’t we talk about God in school?”, “Students need time to rest, Why can’t we have short recesses? After all, we are just kids,” Can you please explain what a Charter School is,” “What do you think are the most important qualities of a leader?”, “What is your best recollection about Northport?” and “As a school board member, what are you most proud of about our schools?”. Mrs. Hawley answered each question with patience, good information and a style that encouraged each student to get involved in the open conversation. Students opened up and really brought authentic and engaging questions to the format. Mrs. Hawley spoke about “integrity” and her definition of the word, “to act the same way when you are alone as when you do in public!” She challenged students to define the word and to bring integrity to their own lives. Mrs. Hawley gave forthright, well thought out answers to student questions and gave each student equal opportunity ask their burning question.

Previous community guests included, Florida State Representative, Gayle Harrell, City of Ft. Pierce Deputy Manager, Nick Mimms and a group of fourteen local veterans. The next Leadership Summit will be held in January.

Author: LYNNE Gruszka

Northport K-8 School Media and Marketing Specialist