Leadership skills key focus of school club

Fairmount Park Elementary fifth-graders practice how to conduct a peer mediation session during a recent meeting


BY DEMORRIS A. LEE, Contributor

ST. PETERSBURG — Two Fairmount Park Elementary fifth-graders sat across from one another recently searching for a resolution. It was what they had been practicing recently during their Leadership Club meetings: how to mediate conflict amongst peers in a peaceful manner.

After several rounds of back and forth, a compromise had been accomplished. The process worked.

Select fifth-graders at Fairmount Park Elementary are members of the school’s Leadership Club, which meet every Wednesday. The club members work on strategies and skills that they hope to employ school wide. The skills include leadership abilities, peer-to-peer conflict resolution and the elements of good character.

“This club provides students the opportunity to practice being a leader, being respectful and it’s a training ground for them,” said Candice Nyarkoh, a Fairmount Park Elementary counselor and the Leadership Club advisor. “This all prepares them for middle school.”

Students from the University of South Florida, St. Petersburg (USFSP) works with the students during the school and throughout the summer. There are also leadership clubs at Lakewood, Maximo and Campbell Park Elementary schools.

“This is a very important club for the students,” said Jessica Jagodzinski, a USFSP sophomore and elementary education major. “They are learning about what conflict is, how to identify it and what actions to take. And when they are learning these skills, they are learning them in a way that’s enjoyable.”

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