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Experiential Education

Our leadership curriculum and social and emotional learning programs rely on cutting edge research and trends as well as the strengths that have always distinguished The Colorado Springs School: small classes, mentorship in our strong Middle School and Upper School advisee programs, and the authentic challenges of our expedition and seminar programs.


Allowing students to experience leadership challenges and grow their own personal leadership style at CSS is one of our central functions. Our curriculum is informed by best practices from the National Outdoor Leadership School, the Gardner Carney Leadership Institute, Yale’s RULER program, the NAIS Schools of the Future project, and The Colorado Springs School’s Walkabout curriculum.

Leadership and Teamwork as defined by the NAIS Schools of the Future Project and our Digital Portfolio standards

  • Initiate new ideas
  • Lead through influence
  • Build trust, resolve conflicts, and provide support for others
  • Facilitate group discussions, forge consensus, and negotiate outcomes
  • Teach, coach, and counsel others
  • Enlist help
  • Collaborate sensitively and productively with people of varied backgrounds
  • Coordinate tasks, manage groups, and delegate responsibilities
  • Implement decisions and meet goals

A few examples of leadership opportunities in the Upper School:

  • Serving as a peer tutor in the classroom
  • Leading a section in a Band
  • Serving as a class officer (grades 9-12) and formally mentored by faculty class sponsors
  • Leading an ad-hoc committee for specific events, e.g. fundraisers or prom
  • Serving as an elected club officer
  • Carrying out Carnival booth planning and execution
  • Serving as an elected representative for National Honor Society executive committee
  • Model UN: presiding officers; compilation of materials and organizing when we host
  • Serving as Leader of the Day/Specific Jobs during our Experience-Centered Seminar (ECS)
  • Leading one of the important post-trip assignments (presentation, video, iPhoto book, poster)
  • Interacting with younger CSS students through the ECS and Book Buddies program, e.g. planning a lesson for the younger kids