Greater Good

Education in Action

Empowering children of North Texas
to be informed,active and responsible
leaders within our community

Article by Shannon Stewart Salinsky | Photo by Lorraine Haan-Stewart

Sheryl Sandberg’s ‘Lean In’ mantra sums it for many parents: “My daughter isn’t bossy, she’s exuding executive leadership skills.” We’re learning now that leadership traits are discovered quite early in children. You can view it on the playground, on play dates and even at home when they’re playing by themselves. Do they do all the talking (she may be more of a delegator than a leader), or do they listen well and ask questions? Do they have a clear picture in their minds of how a plan should formulate? Do they tend to gather the group and set out with an agenda?

Even if you don’t see many of these traits in your child, leadership skills can be fostered. Education in Action is a non-profit organization that provides hands-on learning opportunities with a focus on leadership for academically advanced students, via the Lone Star Leadership Academy camps and the North Texas Leadership Academy private school. A Keller-based non-profit program, students from Carroll, Keller and other DFW area school districts participate in all three of the programs: week-long, overnight Lone Star Leadership Academy camps (and alumni program) for both spring break and summer, North Texas Leadership Academy—a private school for the bright and gifted and one-day school field trips.

Summer Camps | Each spring break and summer, Education in Action offers Lone Star Leadership Academy camps to outstanding 4th-8th graders. Participants join a delegation of distinguished students from across the state and travel to the Dallas/Fort Worth, Austin/San Antonio or Houston/Galveston areas to develop leadership skills and experience what they are learning in school through visits to significant Texas sites. Participants also take part in simulations and leadership groups, gain insight into future career and internship opportunities, develop friendships with other outstanding students and add to their resume of academic achievements. Carroll ISD students have participated in the Lone Star Leadership Academy camps more than 300 times since the organization’s inception in 2002.

Sophia Deras, a 7th grader at Dawson Middle School in Carroll ISD and 2013-2014 Lone Star Youth Leadership Council member, participated in a summer camp last year.  “You get to learn a lot and in a fun and interesting way,” she said. “We got to meet up with other peers our age. It was interesting because we came from different backgrounds. Some of us came from very small cities of only a few hundred people and others came from very large cities and yet, we still had a lot in common. I still keep in touch with many them today.”

“This year I’m excited to be a youth facilitator. I will be paired with a younger group of kids who will be in the DFW area,” said Sophia. Last year was so exciting. During our trip to Galveston, we went out on the water with a marine biologist. We threw a net in the water and got to see a lot of different species of fish and what the marine biologist does for a career. We always get to see exciting and different types of things.”

Eligible students maintain an 85 or higher average, show commitment to community or school involvement and demonstrate leadership ability. Education in Action invites educators to recognize their outstanding student leaders by nominating them for Lone Star Leadership Academy camps
online at EducationInAction.org/educators/nominations.php.

An educator nomination fulfills the required educator recommendation. Parents can download an application at www.EducationInAction.org.

Dr. Mary Johnston, Carroll ISD Executive Director for Special Programs has been involved with Education in Action for 11 years. “As a principal, I encouraged teachers to nominate students to participate. As an Executive Director and member of the Board, I continue to be amazed at the  manner in which Education in Action creates leaders and adds value to students’ educational experience while supporting the community at large. I am humbled by the strength of purpose of Education in Action and will continue to support the work of leadership, as these students grow up and become intricate, contributing members of our society,” she said.

Lone Star Leadership Academy camp alumni are invited to continue their leadership development during the school year by participating in the Lone Star Youth Leadership Council. Members participate in online leadership lessons and are responsible for exercising their leadership skills by creating and leading at least two others in a service project of their choosing. Sophia joined 26 other members from across the state to collect books to help rebuild West ISD libraries. The group collected more than 6,500 books which were delivered to West ISD in April, in honor of the one year anniversary of the fertilizer plant explosion. “The book project was very exciting and meant a lot to me. I learned how important it is to have a library with lots of books and it was a sense of accomplishment to see all our work and how it’s benefiting other people,” Sophia said.

Private School | The North Texas Leadership Academy is a college preparatory private school dedicated to serving bright and gifted students. Through Project Based Learning, the school provides an innovative and accelerated curriculum designed around each student’s needs and interests. The school, located at 10200 Alta Vista Drive in Keller, opened in the fall of 2012 and currently serves students in Pre-K through 8th grade. Leadership, experiential learning, community service, excursions and daily Spanish instruction are all key curriculum components. Holly Megan Thompson serves as Head of School and holds a Master of Education in Administration degree from Lamar University and a Bachelor of Science in Education degree from Texas Christian University. The North Texas Leadership Academy is currently accepting applications for the 2014-2015 school year. For more information or to schedule a tour, email info@ntxleadershipacademy.org or call 817-562-2931.

Field Trips | During the school year, Education in Action takes entire school grade levels (3rd, 4th and 5th grades) on TEKS-based, hands-on learning one-day field trips. Education in Action’s one-day programs make it easy for educators to provide unique and structured educational travel experiences for their students by handling all details including curriculum, training, reservations and charter bus transportation. From the
www.EducationInAction.org, click on the School Field Trips button for more information.

Fun, Educational and Meaningful Leadership Programs | Education in Action teaches leadership while providing fun, educational, and meaningful travel experiences for Texas students. Lone Star Leadership Academy alumni have asked, ‘Why can’t learning be this fun all the time?’ The North Texas Leadership Academy private school strives to fulfill this request. The school incorporates the same fun, educational, and meaningful learning experiences through a Project Based Learning curriculum model with relevant excursions to local venues and a student showcase event at the conclusion of each unit. If you have a high-achieving student looking for a fun learning experience with other academically advanced students, check out Lone Star Leadership Academy summer camps and/or the North Texas Leadership Academy private school for the bright and gifted.

How to Get Involved | Families pay directly for Education in Action’s programs and North Texas Leadership Academy enrollment. Education in Action accepts monetary donations for the Lone Star Leadership Academy scholarship fund. The fund helps students who might not otherwise be able to participate in Lone Star Leadership Academy camps.

North Texas Leadership Academy always welcomes and makes use of donated computers, sports/music equipment, and classroom supplies.