embark: The Journey to Effective Leadership

Embark is a comprehensive, research-based program to develop and grow the leadership potential of each and every student. Approaching leadership from the “inside out,” embark seeks to capture the heart to change the culture.

In order to be truly effective, leaders must not only possess leadership skills and abilities, but they must also be people of good character – able to make principle-based decisions and consistently lead with vision, compassion, and a heart of service.

This leadership program is intended to meet students where they are, develop their leadership skillset, grow their character, help them identify their core values, and put those values to use in decision-making, learning to work with others, and living a life consistent with their beliefs.

With a focus on becoming transforming leaders rather than just transactional, it is hoped that the impact of this program will be felt far beyond the walls of the school and the home, as these young people change the world.



Students will organize and participate in 3 levels of service projects

  • Community
  • Group
  • One-on-one

Scholarship/Skill Development

  • Research – Students will research prominent leaders and their impact
  • Written Report – Students will write a paper, with citations, about their research
  • Presentation/Public speaking – Students will learn to speak in public with the use of visual and other aides


Students will learn about themselves:

  • Talents and abilities
  • Core values and beliefs
  • Personality type
  • Emotional intelligence
  • Journal to debrief learning and apply to their lives



What is Leadership?

  • Expectations
  • Working together
  • Character
  • Competence
  • Creating culture
  • Reaching for roots

Be a Leader

  • Who are you?
  • Your inner core
  • Respecting yourself and others
  • Handling conflict
  • Courtesy
  • Building good habits
  • Dynamic leadership
  • 2nd mile, 2nd nature

How to Lead

  • Being emotionally intelligent
  • Building and rebuilding trust
  • Planning and executing projects
  • Building teamwork
  • Managing stress
  • Building culture
  • Standing by or standing up
  • Making a difference



  • Instruction on leadership skills, competencies, and character
  • A strong emphasis on character growth and development
  • Leadership snapshots including leaders such as Abraham Lincoln, Angela Merkel, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Mahatma Gandhi, and other.
  • Community leaders are featured throughout the program curriculum to inspire students to achieve no matter their circumstances
  • Character spotlights provide instruction in character and discussion starters to promote discussion
  • Experiences and activities illustrate concepts and learning
  • Scenarios and role-plays give students the opportunity to observe, explore, and participate in situations when leadership is developed

This curriculum was written by Dr. Virginia Smith with the help and assistance of advisory council members who are leaders and educators in their communities.


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