DPEA Leadership Class Kicks Off

DPEA Leadership Class Kicks Off

DPEA Leadership is a new class being offered this year to a group of around 40 sophomores and juniors from the Engineering Academy.

The class is taught by Emily Shaeer, with additional involvement by mentor and DPEA Foundation board member Gary Simpson, in a very hands-on way true to the ideals of the entire Engineering Academy. Students see the results of their efforts in this class in a very immediate and direct manner; they have already written formal proposals to convey their thoughts on real problems within the DPEA, and every student is currently a part of one of nine committees working to bring new projects to fruition. The class meets from 5 to 7 pm on Monday and Wednesday evenings. Ms. Shaeer offered further thoughts on the goals of the new class.  —By Serina Applebaum

What is the purpose of the new leadership class?

Since 2008, seniors in the Dos Pueblos Engineering Academy have participated in Business Teams that run the program like a small business.  The teams have adult mentors who are volunteers from the community. There are currently more than 20 business teams that cover all aspects of the DPEA.

As the DPEA grows to its enrollment of 400-plus students, there is a need to include underclassmen in the business teams and to formalize the organization of the business teams. This process can begin with this Business class through the DPEA, where students will receive instruction in business skills. This class will be a platform for offering a broader leadership model for the Engineering Academy. However, students can still participate in DPEA business teams without taking this class.

Tell us about what happens in the class.

On Monday evenings, Business Team work will be prioritized. That means that Business Mentors will come and meet with their teams to do various kinds of work (ie. Grant Writing Team will be writing grants, Accounting Team will be doing accounting, etc). Not all Business Teams will meet every Monday night. On nights when your Business Team does not meet, students will work with me on a variety of different things related to the DPEA (things like creating enrichment experiences to offer to DPEA students when they finish their rotations early, creating new systems and structures to improve the student experience in the DPEA, etc). On Wednesday nights, we will primarily be working on learning business and leadership skills. We will do this through a variety of activities led by various industry professionals, retired executives, etc. The goal, of course, is to help students acquire skills related to business/organizational management.

How are the students evaluated?

The expectation is that all students will participate in their business teams and meet the expectations set by their mentors. It is also expected that students will propose projects and bring them to fruition throughout the year. This is VERY similar to the DPHS Student Government "Leadership" class. We expect that all students will earn As. If people are slacking off, we are going to hold them accountable because they are letting down their classmates and the whole DPEA.

What is the benefit of taking this class?

This class will give students the unique opportunity to contribute to shaping their educational experience in the DPEA. They will share insight and have the chance to effect real change as the DPEA continues to grow and develop. They will also get an inside look at what it takes to run the DPEA since they will be active participants in the work that keeps the DPEA going. Aside from that, students can gain valuable leadership experience, get a letter of recommendation from their Teachers/Business Mentor, and be able to talk/write about the experience in any future essay and/or interview they have for college/internship/job/etc.