TOWAMENCIN- Do you think a firm handshake is a sign of being a good leader? According to Mr. Jon Fluck, this, along with many other soft skills that high school students will need in the future, is currently being taught as part of the new leadership course offered at North Penn High School.
As the district considered new high school classes for the 2022-2023 school year, Fluck and Ms. Katie Grunmeier, who are two of Link Crew’s coordinators, suggested a leadership course. They were impressed with the leadership of high school students who participate in Link Crew each year, and they wanted to showcase the leadership skills of North Penn students and help them become better leaders. Fortunately, the idea for the course was approved by the Education Center.
The class attracted about 100 students in its first year, but Fluck and Grunmeier hope interest in the class will continue to grow until they each teach multiple classes over the next few years. Fluck advises students who might be interested in the new course to talk to students who are already taking it. He expects current students to help recruit new students by saying how much they enjoy the course.
Fluck described an important activity was brainstorming ideas for things they do to help the school. This is a great activity because a key aspect of leadership is the ability to have an impact and make a difference. Fluck also explained that team building skills are essential to leadership, and that many jobs require teamwork, and leaders need to ensure their teams can work well together to achieve their goals. The class will also have the opportunity to hear from guest speakers who are leaders in our community.
Soft skills (personal skills that enable someone to interact effectively with others) are another important area covered in the leadership course, as much of the ability to lead and influence comes from How? ‘Or’ What the leader approaches a task or a team and not only What is being done. Some of the most important soft skills for high school students that are taught in the classroom like how to behave in a job interview, how to talk, how to talk to others, and how to shake hands.
Fluck expressed a broader definition of secondary education than mere academic knowledge.
“School is more than the knowledge you learn there. You might develop some skills, and some of those skills you’re going to take with you,” Fluck said.
This broader definition of education appears to be the one the district is adopting as it has chosen to incorporate more courses covering important life skills into its course catalog. Skills like leadership will not only help students in college and in their work, but in many situations they may encounter in everyday contexts where teamwork and problem solving are needed. Students interested in preparing more fully for the future should definitely consider this course.