Skip To Main Content
The Gordon School

What does an eighth grader know about leadership?

Three moments of compassion, accountability and collaboration


What do Gordon eighth graders know about leadership and compassion?

Eighth graders have been volunteering as recess helpers with first, second, third and fourth grades.

The teachers have been getting out of the way, and letting the students figure out how they want to spend their time together.

The connections between the young teens and the Lower School children have not come automatically. It's even been a little bit awkward. But the eighth graders knew to expect that, and they're letting the younger students take the lead.

They are listening to them as they read picture books. They are watching them dance. They are walking along the stream with them in silence. This is week one. The conversation, the laughter, the authentic connection will come later. For now, the eighth graders are practicing patience, and seeing themselves, as big kids, reflected in the eyes of the six-, seven-, eight- and nine-year-olds.


What do Gordon eighth graders know about leadership and accountability?

At the opening days assembly, the Student Leadership Co-Presidents promised they would go beyond simply making speeches, and engage with students in a consistent and authentic way.

Yesterday, they followed up with the email above. The questions in their survey??

How has the start of school been like for you?

What could the people around you do to make school better? 

What is something that is going well for you at school?

Is there a challenge in the school that you would like to see improved, or that we could help you with?

BONUS FUN QUESTION: Favorite fall food!


What do Gordon eighth graders know about leadership and collaboration?

The eighth grade arts council is empowered to do pretty much anything they want to do, as long as they do all of the planning, work and followthrough themselves. 

The most visible manifestation of this is the immensely popular No Fear Friday Open Mic, where students plan and execute everything, from the promotion beforehand to the most thankless aspects of the tech work and cleanup.

At their first meeting of the year, this year's arts council chose to start off by creating some community agreements. The resulting list is vivid evidence of what Gordon students have learned about collaboration, imagination and personal responsibility by the time they reach eighth grade.

Be respectful
Yes AND, maybe or (no buts!)
Collaborate (look at the bigger picture)
Read the room and each other
Good communication
Try to stick to your strengths
Be concise / no tangents
Hold yourself accountable
Put in the work!
Try to make the best of things
(respect the conscious chair)


New on the blog

A monster story

Tears, joy, literacy basics, beginner's math, and all the colors of the rainbow