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PreSchool - Grade 8
Madison, CT

Elmore Leadership

The school-wide Elmore Leadership Program develops students into civic-minded citizens who will become tomorrow’s leaders, practicing our Country School core values of kindness, respect, and responsibility.

STEAM, Outdoor Education exercises and adventures, public speaking opportunities, MacLane Poetry recitations, musical and dramatic performances, athletic team responsibilities, service learning initiatives, and other leadership offerings are all part of the Elmore Leadership Program. Assessments, self-reflection, and feedback are also important components of the leadership learning process, taking place year by year in an atmosphere that allows for mistakes, growth, and resilience.


Through a carefully crafted series of activities, programs, and experiences, our students are taught strong motivational and analytical skills. All students, from PreSchool-Grade 8, learn the power of teamwork, collaboration, empathetic listening, and appreciative inquiry by taking turns leading and letting others lead, in order to maximize the talents and backgrounds of all members of a team.

Older and younger students are paired together for peer-to-peer experiences that include Reading Buddies, cross grade level activities, and other opportunities for leadership growth and development. The Elmore Leadership Program culminates in the Capstone Independent Study Project in 8th Grade, launching our young leaders on to secondary school.

Our program recognizes that at each grade level, students will develop leadership skills in different ways and at different times. Through our five-year continuum of school-wide yearly themes (Cooperation, Assertion, Responsibility, Empathy, and Self Control*), a young student might begin as a silent leader, setting examples for others, but then become more outspoken in a later grade once confident in his/her leadership ability.

The Elmore Leadership Initiative is named for longtime Country School trustee Robert W. Elmore, an educator, lawyer, and organizational development consultant who modeled a form of leadership based on listening, teamwork, and appreciative inquiry. When Mr. Elmore passed away in 2009, a committee was formed to honor his legacy and create a framework for teaching students the leadership skills he embraced and exhibited in his daily life. The Elmore Leadership Program grew from those discussions.

* Principles and Practices of Responsive Classroom. Center for Responsive Schools, Inc. 2015. Web. 13 October 2015.

Learning from Others

Because children learn by example, we invite outside speakers to campus to speak with our students about their own experiences. They may share examples about a time they had to make a difficult decision, challenges they overcame, or leaders who inspired them. In turn, our students are able to ask questions, learn about real-world experiences, and grapple with some of the big issues they may face in the future.

Fillmore McPherson, former Madison First Selectman, speaks with students about the qualities that characterize a great leader. Learn more.

A student speaks with Donny Marshall, former UConn and NBA great, during an empowerment workshop. Learn more.

Elmore Leadership News

Making a Difference

At The Country School, our students learn that they can make a difference in the world. Pulitzer-Prize winning leadership scholar James MacGregor Burns wrote, "The call for leaders is one of the keynotes of our time." Through our focused curriculum and a community and culture that support their efforts, Country School students are well-equipped to answer that call.

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