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Integrated Academy of Studies Teaches Students How to be Leaders

Integrated Academy of Studies Program at Arizona Charter Academy Teaches Students How to be Leaders with the Help of Hands-On Activities

Students Who are Enrolled in the Leadership Elective Class Organize and Plan School Assemblies, the School’s Monthly Lunch with Leaders, and More

SURPRISE, Arizona—Since the day it opened its doors over a decade ago, Arizona Charter Academy has strived to build leadership qualities in its students.

One tangible way the school has done this is by offering a leadership elective class for students in the Integrated Academy of Studies program, as well as through a Student Ambassador Program.

As Alondra Salazar, middle school Grade Level Lead at Arizona Charter Academy noted, the school’s mission “To empower all students to be responsible, productive and global citizens” truly inspires her and other staff members.

“We really do want to empower our students to be responsible, productive and global citizens. Creating our Integrated Academy of Studies program for middle school pushed us to ensure we have elective offerings that are well rounded,” she said.

ACA currently has 56 leadership students and about 30 Student Ambassadors, in grades 5-8.

In addition to learning about the importance of being leaders, the leadership elective offers hands-on opportunities for students.

For example, students organize and plan the monthly assemblies for their grade levels, Salazar said, and they also plan and run semester activities like a fifth/sixth grade afterschool carnival and a seventh/eighth grade dance.

Leadership elective students also assist with events that help to deepen the community within the middle school, including the monthly Lunch with Leaders event.

“We invite a leader to come and speak to a group of about 40 students during their lunch period. They share their story, their adversities they’ve faced and how they’ve overcome to be the successful individual they are today,” Salazar said.

As Dr. Charlotte Pullins, ACA’s Director of Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging and staff advisor to the Student Ambassadors notes, the Student Ambassadors also make a positive difference in the lives of other students.

“Our ambassadors ensure new students feel welcome and included at ACA by making sure they have someone to eat lunch with their first few days of school and at least one person to help them acclimate in their classes,” she said, adding that students truly enjoy having a say in what goes on at their school.

Both the leadership elective and the Student Ambassador program have given students back the great activities that build community after the isolation the students experienced during COVID, Pullins said.

“These leadership opportunities also give students a chance to give voice to their abilities and viewpoints. They can begin developing talents and abilities to help mold them into the leaders of tomorrow,” Pullins said.

“Students are seeing what an impact their efforts can provide. The sense of accomplishment the leadership team felt after they successfully planned and executed their first ever assembly was palpable.”


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