Cleveland Academy of Leadership kicked off a new school year this week with a Back to School Bash complete with school supplies, food, fun and a host of community partners welcoming families to the school.  The school was buzzing with activity as parents and students registered, met their teachers, collected information about the school year, and visited booths that filled the hallways.

It was an honor for the Spartanburg Academic Movement to participate as a community partner.  Oftentimes, it seems difficult to communicate our mission “to create a culture shift in academic achievement for students in Spartanburg County,” especially when the audience happens to be young students and families eagerly anticipating their first day of school. 

We did not have to look far though for the perfect message that we wanted to convey… “begin with the end in mind.”  As a Lighthouse Leader in Me school, Cleveland Academy of Leadership students practice the seven habits of highly effective people every day, including the second habit, “begin with the end in mind.”  The beginning of a new school year seemed like the perfect opportunity to relate this habit with the mission of the Spartanburg Academic Movement.

As students (and some adults!) put on a Spartanburg High School cap and gown, their smiles exploded for the camera.  The students fumbled to find their hands in a gown that was three and four times their size and tried to position the cap perfectly while many parents and family members stood closely by beaming smiles themselves.  Many times a parent was heard saying, “That will fit one day WHEN you graduate!”  Not IF you graduate, but WHEN you graduate.  The dialogue was not only about making it to high school graduation, but donning a cap and gown to accept a much-deserved college degree too! 

The buses are running, the school bells are ringing, the teachers stand ready, and whether or not they are entering a preschool or fifth-grade classroom, the students at Cleveland Academy of Leadership are beginning with the end in mind!