Bethesda Academy Launches Leadership Development Program this Fall

Staff Report From Savannah CEO

Monday, August 21st, 2017

Bethesda Academy has announced a new Leadership Development Program to be introduced into the school’s curriculum.  The sequenced, age-appropriate program will be integrated into the Bethesda curriculum for all students from grades six through 12 with academic classes.

Staying true to the vision of founder the Rev. George Whitefield, the leadership curriculum will have three tiers: Leadership Training, Experiential Learning with opportunities to practice/apply leadership skills, and an Expert Speaker and Conference series where successful leaders from all walks of life share their wisdom with Bethesda students.

Since leadership begins with one’s character, the Academy has developed its Character Education program focusing on honor (integrity), respect (respect for self, others, and authority) and consideration for others (manners and social skills). The character program is utilizing the Overcoming Obstacles curriculum, developed by the Community for Education Foundation, which will be taught as a regularly scheduled class. The Overcoming Obstacles curriculum is organized into middle school and high school level programs, each beginning with the three fundamental skills: communication, decision making, and goal setting.

“The Overcoming Obstacles curriculum is time tested and proven,” said Bethesda Academy President Dr. Michael Hughes. “Through this system, our boys will be learning about such things as giving and earning respect, the ability to work as a team with others, building confidence, goal-setting, handling stress, understanding conflicts and community service.”

During practical application courses, students will work with each other on projects for their internship. Practical activities include community service and leadership roles in classrooms, athletic teams, extracurricular groups and student government. They also will have opportunities for leadership roles in administrative, teaching and boarding/cottage life sectors, as well as maintenance responsibilities for the care of Bethesda’s 650-acre campus.

In an exciting new development, Bethesda Academy has developed a partnership with nationally known Center for Work Ethic Development from Denver, Colorado. During their work study/internship experience, the students will be following the “Bring Your ‘A’ Game to Work” curriculum, which was developed by the Center for Work Ethic Development, based on a book by Hall of Fame Speaker Eric Chester. The curriculum focuses on developing the work ethic and soft skills that are portable from one job to another. Simply stated, the “A Game” program teaches a young person to learn how to apply, obtain, and succeed in a job—to accomplish personal and organizational goals.

“Bring Your ‘A’ Game to Work focuses on building seven foundational work ethic behaviors: attitude, attendance, appearance, ambition, accountability, acceptance and appreciation," said Dr. Hughes. “Soft skills like professionalism, relational skills, conflict resolution and a willingness to take direction are generally more desired by employers than the specific skills a particular job requires.”

As part of the final tier of the leadership development program, Bethesda Academy will host a guest lecture and conference series in which the school’s students will have the opportunity to meet with national, state and local leaders who will share their expertise and stories on their leadership.

The 277-year-old institution has been preparing for this new focus by increasing investments in facility improvements and faculty and program developments.

“Our goal is to produce self-confident young men of high character who are skilled in leading others and taking personal responsibility for their own learning,” Hughes said. “Because Bethesda understands the unique learning style of boys, the curriculum will also utilize active-learning hands-on strategies.“