Student Character and Leadership
Building character and global understanding
Our Character and Leadership Development program, otherwise known as The Compass Project, is designed to help pre-K through 12th grade students discover their values and learn the skills they need to become successful leaders and compassionate, global citizens. It also reinforces the school’s commitment to the principle of developing the whole child.
The transformative character and leadership program builds on Milton Hershey School’s sacred values, which include commitment to mission, integrity, positive spirit and mutual respect. Students develop their skills through in-classroom lessons and monthly lessons in the student home. The curriculum challenges them to reach their greatest leadership potential by developing skills in four distinct areas:
- Social and emotional learning teaches students to manage emotions, show empathy, and create long-term goals that allow them to dream.
- Spiritual development provides students with the capacity to develop relationships beyond themselves at a spiritual level.
- Character and leadership development helps students build strong mental and ethical traits and leadership qualities that will serve them throughout their lives.
- Health and wellness activities educate students about how they can maintain their personal health and physical well-being in order to live long, happy, and healthy lives.
Social and emotional learning foundation
To help students reach their character and leadership potential, MHS begins with a foundation of social and emotional learning (SEL) skills. With these skills, students can better understand their emotions, achieve positive goals, show empathy for others, maintain positive relationships, and make smart decisions.
The Compass Project’s social and emotional learning curriculum includes lessons that promote self-discovery, personal responsibility, and learning inside and outside the classroom:
- Self-awareness and self-management. These lessons teach students to be self-reflective and practice mindfulness, expanding on the sacred value of commitment to help students develop self-esteem and overcome challenges.
- Social awareness and relationship skills. These lessons discuss social norms and values, diversity and respect, and the importance of compromising and finding common ground. Students learn how to navigate diverse environments and relationships while maintaining an empathetic attitude and mutual respect for others.
- Responsible decision-making. These lessons encourage students to exercise grit, perseverance and resilience. By improving their ability to prioritize, confront failure and make responsible decisions, students understand what it means to act with integrity.
- Growth mindset lessons teach students to be curious and eager to learn through reasoning, problem-solving and free play activities. The goal is to foster positive spirit among young people.
By implementing The Compass Project school-wide, Milton Hershey School is working to enhance students’ understanding of core social and emotional learning skills.
See how students are living out these values:
The Compass Project Toolkit
Want to keep up with program updates and information surrounding The Compass Project? Check out our toolkit to view a video library full of engaging videos that show The Compass Project in action on the MHS campus. You can also download takeaways with tips, reminders, and advice.