Administration Rids Ac Labs of Leadership Lessons


Leadership labs and the “Seven Habits” will no longer be taught in Academic Labs due to complaints about lack of engagement and lack of work time. “I suggest, instead of leadership labs, providing more opportunities for leadership positions within the school, like in the student council,” said Buckley.

Tabitha Bevan, Writing Wizard

On Aug 13, students filed into Parkway North for the first day of school. Kids ran through their 8-block schedule and upon arriving at their ac lab class, they were informed there would be no more leadership labs occurring during their study time. 

Leadership labs are no travel labs where lessons based on the book, 7 Habits of Highly Successful Teens by Sean Covey are taught. They were implemented into ac labs with the purpose of developing good character. These habits included: pro-activity, beginning with the end in mind, prioritizing, thinking win-win, seeking first to understand then to be understood, synergism, and sharpen the saw. The labs consisted of slide presentations presented by teachers and worksheets to help reiterate the lessons. However, many students felt the sessions were time consuming ineffective.

“Last year, I didn’t really get anything out of the lessons. A lot of the topics covered were basic things from middle school that a freshman shouldn’t have to relearn,” said sophomore Oliver Buckley, “I understand what the administration was trying to go for, but it felt a little too much like they were trying to hold your hand, which isn’t the point of high school.” 

Many teachers agree that students were not always engaged in the leadership labs: 

“Even though I tried to get my academic lab to take it seriously, I don’t think any of them did because they were too concerned that they were losing time from seeing teachers and getting help,” said math teacher Julie Teixeira, who had a freshman ac lab last year. 

In addition to the general lack of engagement, teachers and students claim leadership labs eliminated the work time guaranteed to them. The Parkway North Student Handbook states: Academic Lab provides an opportunity for students to work on class assignments and study under teacher supervision. Students also have the opportunity to “travel” to meet and confer with their teachers for clarification or help with assignments. 

“There were days when I needed to travel to get help before a big test, and I couldn’t get around to my teachers because of leadership lab,” said junior Adam Means. 

“A lot of the time, my lab teacher breezed through the lesson and afterward we had nothing to do since we couldn’t travel. It’s better for kids to be completing homework or visiting teachers than it is for them to be sitting through a lesson they’re only half interested in,” said junior Chris Lau. 

Eventually, the feedback reached the administration, who sent out a survey to students and staff in order to determine the next course of action. 

“Based off of the responses, the majority found the leadership labs ineffective; therefore, the administration team rid the process from ac lab,” said sophomore principal Jada Bell. 

Despite the negative feedback, most students and teachers agree the content taught in the leadership labs is important for kids to understand. The delivery of the lessons is where the labs fell short. 

“It was a good way to discuss some important issues that might not otherwise have been discussed,” said English teacher Valerie Townsend. “However, [leadership labs] shouldn’t have been done as frequently and maybe not with such rigidity; there were powerpoints, handouts, and worksheets.” 

Another suggestion brought up was the creation of a leadership class for those who were interested in learning about the topics discussed during the labs. This way, character development and good leadership skills could still be taught at North, but without interfering with time allotted for studying and being a successful student. 

 Teachers and administrators will still utilize lab time to distribute information to students. Class meetings and all-school assemblies will continue to occur during lab times and students will not be able to travel on those days.