New leadership course highlights a different way of preparing kids for the future


Nick Lupinacci

Leaders in the Making: Students participate in a handshaking activity in North Penn High School’s new leadership course.

TOWAMENCIN- Do you think a firm handshake is a sign of being a good leader? According to Mr. Jon Fluck, it is, along with many other soft skills that high school students will need in the future, currently being taught as part of the new leadership course offered at North Penn High School.

As the district was considering new high school classes for the 2022-2023 school year, Fluck and Mrs. Katie Grunmeier, who are two of the Link Crew coordinators, suggested a leadership course. They were impressed with the leadership of the high school students who participate in Link Crew each year, and they wanted to highlight the leadership skills of North Penn students and help them become even better leaders. Fortunately, the idea for the course was approved by the Education Center.

The class has attracted about 100 students in its inaugural year, but Fluck and Grunmeier hope interest in the class will continue to grow until they are each teaching several  classes in the next few years. Mr. Fluck advises students who may be interested in the new class to talk to students who are already taking it. He expects the current students will help recruit new students by talking about how much they enjoy the course.

Fluck described one important activity was brainstorming ideas of things they do to help the school.  This is a great activity because a key aspect of leadership is the ability to have an impact and make a difference. Fluck also discussed team building skills are critical to leadership, and many jobs require work in teams, and the leaders need to ensure their teams can work well together to achieve their goals. The class will also have the opportunity to listen to guest speakers who are leaders in our community.

Soft skills (personal skills that allow someone to interact effectively with others) are another important area covered by the leadership course because a lot of the ability to lead and influence comes from how the leader approaches a task or a team and not just what is being done. Some of the more important soft skills for high schoolers that are taught in the class, like how to act in a job interview, how to speak up, how to speak to others and how to shake hands. 

Fluck expressed a broader definition of high school education than just academic knowledge.

“School is more than just the knowledge that you learn there. You could develop some skills, and some of these skills you’re going to carry with you,” Fluck said.

This broader definition of education seems to be one that the district is embracing as it has chosen to incorporate more classes covering important life skills into their course catalog. Skills like leadership will not just help students in college and in their jobs but in many situations they may encounter in everyday settings where teamwork and problem-solving are required. Students interested in preparing themselves more fully for the future should definitely consider this course.