Changes have been made to the face of Leadership and the responsibilities of student leaders at Oakdale Junior High School.
Among those changes are new advisors, English teachers Danesa Jepson and Jenny Ferguson who have stepped in the roles of being co-facilitators. The two say they work well together and can shoulder the work together as well.
“I think with two people it’s more manageable,” Ferguson said.
While this venture is new to Ferguson, Jepson has been involved with leadership peripherally and has served as advisor to various clubs on campus. She has also been handling much of the paperwork at this point, such as budgets.
With the new advisors, there are also some other changes that have been made to the program as a whole. Jepson reported that there is a new contract for students who wish to be involved in Leadership.
“We wanted to make Leadership into more of a leadership role, both in and out of school… make it more visible,” Jepson said.
She said that these changes include: students must maintain a 2.5 or higher GPA, regularly attend student council meetings with only three unexcused absences, perform 10 hours of pre-approved community service quarterly, attend Oasis after school program three times per week, and help with serving at lunchtime.
Currently, the new student body officers are learning Roberts Rules of Order to conduct their meetings appropriately. They meet two times per week during Oasis and review business. Monthly meetings are also slated to include the officers as well as second period class representatives.
While Leadership was actually a class at school at one time, for the past two years it has been strictly an extracurricular activity at the junior high. The two advisors feel they have a lot of students in Leadership at OJHS this year as there are 20 — those students comprise elected officers and others who applied for it. However, there were approximately 100 applicants for Leadership.
Ferguson and Jepson concurred that many students like the “idea” of Leadership but don’t truly understand all of the responsibilities and tasks that come with being involved in it. Ferguson provided the example that students typically like to plan rallies or dances because that’s fun, but there is also the “business” that must be attended to such as going over student body accounts, requisitions, fundraising.
The Leadership students will soon begin planning activities for Red Ribbon Week, which is held at the end of October. Among their other duties throughout the year is the planning of charity fundraisers and canned food drives.
The advisors have further goals for the Leadership program this year.
“I’d like to make it more visible in the community,” Jepson said. “It would be nice for the community to know that Leadership is more than fun and games, it’s giving back.”
“I want it to be something that the kids want to be a part of,” Ferguson added.
The advisors reported that there will also be a change to the applications for Leadership next year at the junior high as they will contain more details and have the expectations listed.
“I want them to run themselves,” Jepson said. “I want us to be seen as facilitators … I want them to run the meetings… That’s what leadership is.”
She and Ferguson both acknowledged that taking over the advisor roles this year is a little daunting but they are looking forward to working with the students.
“It’ll be nice to get some fresh perspective with the new kids,” Ferguson added.