Mentoring student leadership : a comparison of two high school programs and the development of student success

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Montana State University - Bozeman, College of Education, Health & Human Development


School district leaders, by coaching teachers to be mentors via professional development, can elevate student success through the establishment of student leadership (Daggett, 2012). Mentoring student leadership by guiding students in skills, practices and behaviors is a topic that has the potential to take student success to a more rigorous and relevant level for all learners (Magner, Soulé & Wesolowski, 2011). This study was intended to reveal how participation in programs that mentor leadership contributes to the development of the portraits of the Common Core State Standards (Wilhoit, 2010) in students. Since 21st century skills have been combined with the Common Core State Standards for the purposes of student achievement in a variety of literature, the researcher cross-referenced these and developed a working model of mentoring student leadership utilizing: 1. Leadership practices (Kouzes & Posner, 2006) 2. Identity leadership theory behaviors (Haslam, Reicher & Platow, 2011) 3. 21st century skills (McGaw, 2009) 4. Portraits of the Common Core State Standards (Wilhoit, 2010) Student leaders and adult mentors were the participants in this multiple case study: high school pupils who experience specific mentoring in student leadership and teachers who mentor these students. Through interviews, observations, and document analysis, programs that offer a prescribed framework orchestrating the development of leadership were examined. Lack of research in mentoring student leadership was investigated through the study. By exploring two high school programs that guide adolescents through a formal framework, it was possible to witness a snapshot of the development of student leadership. Although the student groups studied were diverse, five similarities were discovered when student leadership was mentored : citizenship, communication, collaboration (Griffin, McGaw & Care, 2010), representing the group (Nohria & Khurana, 2010), and modeling the way for others (Kouzes & Posner, 2008). Utilizing an existing mentoring model (Rhodes, 2002), a new model for mentoring leadership was structured and is still being developed. Viable information gathered about developing student leadership and adolescent success suggests expanding the study outside of the high school examined to other communities and states. If a goal in education is to increase student success through leadership development, exploring other influences on student leadership will be valuable as a next step in facilitating progressive education.




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