Beyond the Classroom
Student Life

Leadership Program

Articulated within The O’Neal School’s mission statement is a dedication to student development in the areas of academic excellence, the strength of character, and physical well-being in an environment where integrity, self-discipline, and consideration for others is fundamental.  The Leadership Program is a character education program that focuses on the development, cultivation, and refinement of comprehensive leadership skills within the student body through the implementation of the Lower School Culture Council, Middle School Courage League, and Upper School Leadership Academy.
Critical Components of the Leadership Program:
  • Citizenship
  • Critical Thinking
  • Communication Skills
  • Collaboration Methods and Expertise
  • Self-direction and Independent Thinking Skills
  • Conflict Management
  • Project Management
  • Service Learning

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  • Culture Council - Lower School

    The Lower School’s Culture Council serves as the introductory piece of the Leadership Program and is comprised of students from the 4th grade. The Culture Council teaches students the concept of “One O’Neal”, which exemplifies and reinforces the philosophy of collaboration between teachers, staff, administration, classmates, peers, friends, parents. This ‘whole school community’ approach seeks to build a strong sense of unity and a strong foundation of positive culture at The O’Neal School. Students are introduced to the FALCONS acronym; Fairness Accountability Leadership Cooperation Ownership Nurture Self-discipline. These principles serve as a starting point for Culture Council discussions and activities which allow students to explore and discover their own personal set of core values. Students are allowed to apply for the Culture Council at the beginning of the second semester.
  • Courage League - Middle School

    The Middle School’s Courage League serves as a bridge between the Lower School’s Culture Council and the Upper School’s Leadership Academy. The Courage League is comprised of students from 5th through 8th grades and works to amplify social-emotional learning through engagement in critical conversations while exploring decision-making scenarios. These critical conversations and decision-making scenarios serve crucial to elevating students’ awareness of how to navigate challenging social situations. Through exploring their own set of personal core values and dissecting right vs. wrong, students gain valuable practice in principled decision-making which is fundamental to the character development process. Students gain entry into the Courage League through a formal application process that also includes teacher recommendations.
  • Leadership Academy - Upper School

    The Leadership Program started in 2017 with the creation of the Upper School’s Leadership Academy. During the summer of 2017, the School’s athletic department created a one-week leadership camp for a select group of Upper School Varsity athletes. The camp was conducted just prior to the start of the school year and focused on building confident and resilient individuals into integral members of unified teams in order to develop a supportive O’Neal Culture of Excellence. Since 2017, the Leadership Academy camp continues to ‘kick-off’ the academic year for the Leadership Program and now includes non-athletes. Additionally, the Leadership Academy has evolved into a year-long program where students meet once a week throughout the school year, building upon what they learned at the camp and continuing to cultivate and refine their leadership competencies. This is done through a variety of methods which include, but are not limited to; growing their emotional intelligence, community service projects, and team-building activities. Once a year, Leadership Academy facilitators (select faculty and staff members) nominate students for inclusion into the program for the following academic year.
    • leadership program logo


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  • Charlie McHarney, Director of Leadership & Character Development

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The O'Neal School admits students of any race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, veteran status, genetic information, citizenship, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or any other basis protected by law to all the rights, privileges, programs, and activities generally accorded or made available to students at the school. It does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, veteran status, genetic information, citizenship, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or any other basis protected by law in the administration of its educational policies, admissions policies, scholarship and loan programs, and athletic and other school-administered programs.