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The Leadership School is grounded in three principles: 

1. Social connections and skills are critical to the success of students. 
2. Active learning techniques engage students of all abilities and backgrounds. Active techniques are fun, encourage metaphorical thinking and facilitate maximum growth because they meet students where they are at. 
3. Solvable challenges of increasing difficulty enable students to accomplish more than they ever thought possible.


Communication Skills

  • Learn the eight guidelines of clear and effective communication.
  • Discuss assertive, aggressive and passive styles of communication and behavior.
  • Address the issue of bullying and peer aggression with initiatives and common language.
  • Practice conflict resolution.


  • Identify the qualities of a healthy relationship.
  • Discuss the concepts of stereotypes, judgments, and generalizations.
  • Consider the values and beliefs of others and open up positive lines of communication.
  • Address a range of behaviors students could be exposed to that could be characterized as harassment.
  • Discuss ways to create sustainable relationships that reflect health, resiliency, and the ability to grow.


  • Students define the positive qualities they strive to develop in themselves.
  • Students set a goal and map out strategies to meet that goal.
  • Practice the importance of resting, relaxing and reflecting while sitting in silence, stillness and solitude.
  • Identify who students can turn to for help in achieving their goals.


  • Brainstorm what risky behaviors students are witnessing and facing in their own school and community.
  • Investigate what individuals seek to get from a risky behavior versus what they often end up getting.
  • Exemplify how quickly risky behaviors can complicate peoples' lives.
  • Discuss healthy risks that students can take to achieve positive outcomes.


  • Students learn how to identify and respect their comfort zone and the comfort zones of others.
  • Challenge themselves to take healthy risks in a safe environment.
  • Identify individuals in their school and community who are members of their support team, both physically and emotionally.
  • Create a space that is physically and emotionally safe for each person and climb on our outdoor ropes course and in our indoor climbing center.


  • Practice working with one another to achieve a common goal or to solve a common problem.
  • Brainstorm what makes a good team and what critical role they play in supporting that team.
  • Discover personal strengths, the strengths of others, and find a way to maximize both
  • Develop skills to for creative problem solving.
  • Practice clear and effective communication.

Environmental Stewardship

  • Use the outdoors as an integrated context for learning -- fostering an intimate connection with the natural world.
  • Provide experiences that encourage formation of perspectives and understanding of the natural environment.
  • Cultivate awareness, sensitivity, knowledge and understanding about the environmental challenges facing their own community.
  • Nurture an attitude of responsibility for community and environmental health.

PDF downloadTLS Guiding Principles for the Maine Learning Results

PDF downloadLetter from former Commissioner Susan Gendron