Leadership Distinction Program

Leadership Distinction Program

For over 190 years, leadership, communication, and problem solving have been integrated throughout the Mercy curriculum, helping students develop a growth mindset as globally -ready young women. Now, Mercy is offering further preparation and skill development for future leaders through our innovative Leadership Distinction Program, which immerses high school students in leadership studies, self-reflection, and experiential learning.

“While leadership skill formation is integrated throughout the standard Mercy curriculum, this program brings real-world leadership preparation and practice to the next level, while distinguishing student accomplishments in a way that will resonate on transcripts and resumés alike.”

– President Pamela Fennell Baker, J.D. ‘74 P 12

“Mercy has always nurtured ethical, value-driven leaders; our country has never been in greater need of such women. This new program brings greater intentionality to our ongoing mission to form extraordinary leaders of vision and compassion.”

– Principal Martin Kilbridge, Ed.D.


Framework 

The Leadership Distinction Program provides a framework of academic course selection, co-curricular, and other opportunities for students in grades 9-12 as they build their transcripts and earn the Seal of Leadership Distinction on their diploma. Students must declare their participation in the program by October 1. 

  • Academic Course SelectionMercy currently offers 13 academic courses that emphasize leadership including Leadership Studies, Morality, Virtual Enterprise, Speech, and Media Literacy. Some classes also include college credits, further developing college transcripts. As Mercy’s program of studies continues to grow and evolve annually, more leadership electives will be added.
  • Co-Curricular Opportunities – Co-curricular opportunities incorporate school leadership, academic competitions, extracurricular activities, ministry, and attendance at symposiums, speeches, or conferences into the students’ experience.
  • Experiential Learning Leadership candidates will engage in experiential leadership opportunities including school-based internships, job shadowing, and external internships.

Students will build their transcripts for the Leadership Distinction Program by using an electronic portfolio on Naviance, where students will upload their reflections. This allows students to record their experiences yearly and have easily accessible information for letters of recommendation, college applications, and other future opportunities.


Eligibility and Program Requirements

All high school students became eligible for the Leadership Distinction Program at the beginning of the 2020-2021 academic year, regardless of grade. Tenth grade students will begin the program as outlined for sophomore year. Juniors and seniors were not required to revisit requirements from freshman and sophomore years; rather, they will have other requisite work tailored to their schedules. Collaboration with local colleges is being incorporated to fulfill upperclassmen requirements. Students are not required to have previous leadership experience to join the program, simply the desire to build their personal skill set and understanding of effective leadership.

Program assessment is linked to Mercy’s Profile of Graduate outcomes and five key characteristics of emotional intelligence: communication, problem solving, interpersonal relationships, time management, and the ability to be a healthy risk-taker. As students build their skill development in leadership, they will simultaneously build their transcript and readiness for future success in college and career.

  • Self-Evaluation Pre-Assessment
  • 9th Grade Leadership Course (1 – required)
  • Ministry Requirement (1)
  • Speaker Symposiums (2) 
  • Co-curricular Activities (1+)
  • Media Sources (2) 
  • 6 Total Reflections
    • Ministry Reflection (1)
    • Speaker Symposium Reflections (2)
    • Co-curricular Activity Reflection (1) 
    • Media Source Reflections (2)
  • 10th Grade Elective (1)
  • Ministry Requirement (1)
  • Speaker Symposiums (2) 
  • Co-curricular Activities (1+)
  • Job Shadow Experience (1)
  • Media Sources (2) 
  • 6 Total Reflections
    • Ministry Reflection (1)
    • Speaker Symposium Reflections (2)
    • Media Sources Reflections (2) 
    • Job Shadow Experience Reflection (1)
  • End of Year Mid-Assessment
  • 11th Grade Electives (2)
  • Ministry Requirement (1)
  • Speaker Symposiums (2) 
  • Co-curricular Activities (1+)
  • Internship Experience (1)
  • Media Sources (2) 
  • 6 Total Reflections
    • Ministry Reflection (1)
    • Speaker Symposium Reflections (2)
    • Media Sources Reflections (2) 
    • Internship Experience Reflection (1)
  • 12th Grade Electives (3)
  • Ministry Requirement (1)
  • Speaker Symposiums (2) 
  • Co-curricular Activities (1+)
  • Internship Experience (1)
  • Media Sources (2) 
  • 6 Total Reflections
    • Ministry Reflection (1)
    • Speaker Symposium Reflections (2)
    • Media Sources Reflections (2) 
    • Internship Experience Reflection (1)
  • Oral Competency Presentation to Advisory Board

Advisory Board

The Mercy Leadership Distinction Program is supported by an advisory board led by Elizabeth Decosse. Members of the advisory board include Donna Horn, Dean of Academics; Sherylanne Diodato ’93 Ph.D., Dean of the middle school; Emily Cady, high school counselor; and community members with backgrounds in student and/or community leadership at the collegiate level. The advisory board meets regularly to consult on the program, monitor students’ progress, and serve as a panel for final competency presentation exams in the students’ senior year.

Questions? Contact Elizabeth Decosse, Leadership Distinction Program Coordinator, at (585) 288-7120×324 or edecosse@mercyhs.com