Leadership Central Penn Goes Back to School

November took the Leadership Central Penn class to the Central Columbia School District’s office for an education round table with superintendents Harry Mathias (Central Columbia), Dr. Donald Wheeler (Bloomsburg), Cynthia Jenkins (Millville) and Director of Curriculum for Berwick, Bob Croop, Jr. The educational leaders had four questions on the agenda, but it became apparently quickly that the LCP class was going the hijack the morning as it continuously challenged the panel on topics ranging from educational innovations, “new’ math, technology in the classroom, property taxes, family school life balance, and the ever changing challenges of teaching the next generation. The panel held its own, and the passion they use every day to meet these challenges and more as they educate our young people was evident. 

The class was treated to lunch with a wonderful menu of fresh baked yeast rolls, hot soup and perfectly dressed salad prepared by students from Columbia Montour Area Vocational Technical School.  Lunch was delivered and executed under the guidance of Joseph Edmondson, director of food preparation education at CMVT.

After lunch the class welcomed two more guests, Dr. Kim Bolig of Bloomsburg University’s STEM Education Center, and Diana Verbeck, executive director of the Danville Child Development Center.  The class saw Powerpoints about the wonderful empowering education being done for young girls and boys, through STEEM Magnet programs at BU.  STEM jobs are in great demand and growing in our economy, and this program is meeting the challenges of engaging and exciting young people about the possibilities in these future careers. 

As we look to the future, we learned that we need to start planning for that as early as six weeks of age — yes you read that right, six weeks, according to a presentation by Verbeck.  Research in neurodevelopment shows that early brain stimulation correlates to success later in life, and it has been widely debated, but the passion of Verbeck and others in the early childhood education field was very evident throughout the presentation.  They believe in development through play and tactile education, and the earlier the better. Offering these opportunities to all families regardless of socioeconomic status is imperative and has been echoed by industry leaders and government officials.

One can’t call it a day at Central Columbia without taking a walk on the Career Pathway. Students at this high school have a rare and unique educational experience to begin their career education in ninth grade. You want to be an Engineer; you start on the college prep Engineering, Manufacturing, and Industrial Technology pathway.  Four other pathways exist:

  • Human Services
  • Arts and Communications,
  • Business, Finance, Marketing, and Information Technology
  • Agri-Science, Science and Health

Students must pick one to focus on as well as a secondary pathway to study.  This allows students to get a variety of experiences before making life altering career and college choices.  The program is unlike any that any member of the class had experienced before, and it almost made some want to go back to high school.

Leadership Central Penn is sponsored by Bloomsburg UniversityKawneerSEKISUI SPI and USG

Leadership Central Penn Heads to a Special Place to Learn About Special Services and Leadership Development

Members of the LCP class listen to a presentation during October’s class meeting.

In Millville in northern Columbia County, you’ll find Camp Victory where the signs read a “A Special Place for Special Kids.” Tucked away in the countryside outside of Bloomsburg, among the trees clinging to summer green, refusing to give way to fall colors, is a truly amazing venue for learning about organizations trying to make a positive impact on those in need. Not only is Camp Victory one of those organizations, but, as a part of the 2017-18 Leadership Central Penn class’ monthly meeting two weeks ago on Oct. 19, it also hosted 10 others that are making Columbia and Montour counties a better place for everyone. Leadership Central Penn is sponsored by Bloomsburg UniversityKawneerSEKISUI SPI and USG

This year’s LCP Human Services day included presenters from The Columbia County Coalition for Human Services, The Women’s Center, AGAPE, Caring Communities, Columbia Child Development Program – Head Start, Community Strategies Group (formerly Columbia County Housing & Development Authority), Family Center, United Way of Columbia and Montour County, Geisinger Bloomsburg Hospital and Danville Child Development Center’s Early Intervention Services. 

The morning presenters faced a monumental task of sharing all the good work their organizations do in 15 minutes presentations. After 10 presentations and two breaks, 21 professionals in the LCP program were emotionally and mentally drained. They learned about all the life changing work happening, in many cases unseen, with few resources and even fewer dollars, throughout the area to support people that need a helping hand.

To find out more about these organizations and how you can help please contact the Columbia County Human Services Coalition, the Montour County Human Services Coalition or the United Way of Columbia and Montour County.

Tina Welch from Welch Performance Consulting gives a presentation during the afternoon session.

The group then worked during the afternoon with Tina Welch, founder of Welch Performance Consulting (WPC), to focus on leadership development. The group discussed different philosophies on leadership and how to shape their own leadership skills and philosophy. It also used a personality assessment instrument to understand key aspects of communication, a critical leadership competency, by first understanding their own communication tendencies, how to identify the personality styles of others they work with and lead, and then how to modify their communication to meet the needs of others. The class was separated into their project teams where they were able to discuss the personality makeup of the team. They identified strengths and gaps in the team and will now go into their community service projects with a team strategy that will help accelerate their success.