Effectiveness of LEAD for Dulaney students

Aine Heron, Staff Writer

As the second quarter began, Dulaney made a major change to the daily schedule. At the end of first period, a 30-minute period was assigned to allow students an opportunity to catch up on work, make up assignments and have an overall productive time. This period is known as LEAD which stands for leadership, empowerment, advocacy and determination. This LEAD period was enacted across Dulaney’s classes to allow students not only time to be productive, but time to interact with teachers, peers and have a dedicated mental health break.

LEAD is Dulaney’s interpretation of a social and emotional learning program (SEL) which has been utilized across the globe in an attempt to minimize students’ mental health challenges. This time is specifically planned to have no set schedule within the allotted time so students can use it as a time to regroup, and reach out to teachers and peers. As many students have such rigorous schedules, this time is for all students but specifically those who are not aware of other schools-provided resources.

The LEAD program has now been in action for the entirety of the second quarter, so the question arises, how effective is it really? This program gives students independence but the way in which students utilize their time wildly varies.

In response to the initial LEAD announcement, many students viewed LEAD as a time for them to push their procrastination to new heights and wait to begin their homework at the beginning of LEAD. Although it is true that there is some time which can be used for work, the students who use the time for social interaction serve as a major distraction to other students. 

With the start of the third quarter, students are now allowed to travel to classes besides their homeroom to make up missing assignments, complete redos and work in other classes, which has increased academic productivity. There has been an overall increase in students using the time for a specific academic focus versus social aspects. Although LEAD provides students enough time to complete minor work, overall it does not have the impact of say a free period – which would allow for an effective amount of time that students could dedicate to their never-ending workload.