A comprehensive evaluation of a GPF pilot program, “Leadership Academy: Inroads for Success,” was released by Dr. Travis Patton, Program Director of the Morehouse Research Institute, on August 27, showing “statistically significant” improvements in leadership behaviors and academic performance, and reduced absenteeism, disciplinary actions and suspensions among participating middle school students. The program at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Middle School in Atlanta aims to empower students to develop their leadership creativity and integrity for success in school, home, workplace and community.
The report noted that “twenty-first century employers are not only looking for skilled workers who excel academically, but also those who have the necessary ‘soft skills’ suitable for the modern workforce. These qualities include: ability to work as a team, leadership, communication skills, problem solving, and strong work ethic.”
The evaluation described “a culture of underachievement” in schools and homes that has led to an estimated 28,000 students dropping out of high school in Georgia each year. The state’s graduation rate is one of the lowest in the nation, with SAT ranking from 47th to 49th.
“I became more confident in my abilities and less willing to give up because of one small failure.” —Leadership Academy Middle School student
The evaluation showed that:
- The Leadership Academy empowered students with competencies that developed their leadership, creativity and integrity for success in school, home, work and community.
- Middle school students were empowered to excel academically and pursue college and career goals.
- College students from Clark Atlanta University, Georgia Institute of Technology, Georgia State University and Morehouse College served as facilitators and peer mentors modeling leadership and academic excellence for their younger peers.
- Participating students demonstrated more confidence in their leadership behaviors, higher academic performance, and reduced absenteeism, disciplinary actions and suspensions measured against a “matched group.”
- Mean scores for college facilitator’s leadership behaviors increased based on self-assessment before and after the program.
The Leadership Academy curricula were developed locally through a joint effort by GPF, the Global Peace Youth Corps, and the Administration for Children and Families of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Four principles guided the development of the curricula— lead by example, lead through service, lead with others and lead for change—and consisted of modules that were designed to be interactive, engaging and flexible.
GPFF is a member of the Atlanta Promise Neighborhood Alliance, a U.S. Department of Education initiative seeking to improve educational and developmental outcomes of children and youth in Atlanta’s most distressed communities.
Other partners involved in the development, implementation and coordination of the Leadership Academy include the Administration for Children and Families, After-School All-Stars, Corporation for National and Community Service, Georgia Department of Human Services, Georgia State University, Home Depot, King Middle School, Morehouse Research Institute, and Service For Peace. In Fall 2012, the Leadership Academy will expand to Brown Middle School.
***The Global Peace Festival Foundation (GPFF) was renamed Global Peace Foundation (GPF) in November, 2012