Leadership Academy Q&A

Questions and Answers

St. John’s Northwestern (SJN) plans to add a coed, college-prep leadership academy called St. John’s Northwestern Leadership Academy (SJNLA) for the 2020-2021 school year.

SJNMA will continue to operate as it does currently. SJNLA will operate alongside SJNMA. To put
this concept into context:

1. SJN Military Academy: a full-fledged, coed Military Academy for grades 9-12 with strong ties to the service academies. The Military Academy and the Leadership Academy will share three of the four foundational pillars: Academic, Spiritual & Character Development and Athletics. The fourth leadership pillar will continue to be conducted through the U.S. Army
Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (JROTC) curriculum.
2. SJN Leadership Academy a coed, traditional boarding school for grades 7-12. The Leadership Academy and the Military Academy will share three of the four foundational pillars: Academic, Spiritual & Character Development and Athletics. The fourth leadership pillar will employ an original curriculum unique to SJN, based on the most current models of transformational, adaptive, and servant leadership.
3. SJN Summer Academy will continue in a manner similar to the recent past but the programs are under reorganization to meld the Summer Opportunities program with the Adventure Camps into a combined experience.
4. SJN Global Leadership Academy would be developed after the Leadership Academy is up and running. At this point, we envision this to include partnering with selected secondary schools in foreign countries (both military and traditional boarding schools), offering exchange programs for faculty and students and providing other vehicles for a semester or year abroad.


In order to enhance all of the Academies listed above, SJN will pursue the Certified School of Character designation, which would include the weaving of its related curriculum across all of the Academies.

St. John’s Northwestern is introducing a separate leadership model for several reasons:

1. In order to grow, St. John’s Northwestern must offer multiple programs tailored to the goals and needs of different groups of students.
2. The military school model is not one-size-fits-all. As such, offering a non-military option will give families looking for a structured environment will give them greater choice in choosing the appropriate education for their children.
3. As an institution, we must be willing to consider fundamental change in order to prosper.

The non-military offering is based on the following reasoning:

1. 2016 Strategic Plan: developed over an extensive 18-month process and unanimously approved by the Board of Trustees (BOT) recognized that SJN is “fundamentally an educational and character building institution that must present offerings tailored to the individual needs, abilities and goals of students.” An umbrella structure was established,
and the plan went on to state “Beneath that conceptual umbrella, we will offer individual academies dedicated to fulfilling the unique needs of specific student groups with programs tailored to the ways each group learns best.”
2. 2018 Strategic Plan: also unanimously approved by the BOT, adjusted the SJNMA structure by including females on the basis that females have the same opportunities as males, as over 40% of JROTC participants are female.
3. Situational Plan Update: in reviewing the above mentioned plans, the BOT, President and Headmaster concluded that offering only a military format is not fulfilling the vision of the “tailored programs” concept, and that SJN should pursue other programs, while preserving
and enhancing the excellence of SJN’s military academy heritage.

SJNLA will operate under a prefect (i.e. traditional) boarding school model that also offers a day student program, like SJNMA. Within it, several tracks will be offered, beginning with:

1. Standard College Prep Track: assisting students with getting into the college or university of their choice.
2. Advanced College Prep Track: offering Honors Courses, Advanced Placement (AP) Courses, College Credit and STEM-Project Lead the Way (PLTW). Additional tracks under consideration are Fine Arts and Athletics. All tracks will include an original leadership curriculum unique to SJN, based on the most current models of transformational, adaptive, and servant leadership.

SJNLA will operate under a prefect model, a well-established and prevalent model of student leadership used in other boarding schools. A “head prefect” will be selected at the end of each year from the junior class for the following school year.

All new 7

th and 8th grade students will be enrolled in the Leadership Academy to start, because the JROTC leadership program is designed for high school grades. Therefore, the Military Academy will serve grades 9-12, and will be an option to all students after 8th grade.


Current Military Academy students in grades 7 and 8, have the option to continue with the military model if they so choose.

The dormitory structure will be led by dorm prefects with adult Resident Advisers (RA). RAs will live in the dorms and serve as “dorm heads.” A Dean of Students will oversee and direct the RAs and manage discipline (analog to Commandant for the Military Academy). Campus rules and standards of conduct will align with The Standard but will not include formal military rules and regulations. Behavioral consequences will include campus, dorm, and activity restrictions. A merit/demerit system will be established with non-military rewards/consequences.

The working model for barracks/dorm distribution is as follows:

  • Military Academy males – Scott Johnston/Hazelwood
  • Leadership Academy males – DeKoven/Welles
  • Military and Leadership Academy females – Smythe (split by floor)
  • A Common (student) Council: will consist of Military Academy battalion staff and Leadership Academy prefect leaders will work together to support staff and students in everyday tasks, events and initiatives.
  • In the Dining Hall, there will be separate seating for companies and prefect teams at lunch/2nd mess. Otherwise, breakfast/1st mess and dinner/3rd mess would be “common time” for the whole school to intermingle.
  • Parade participation will pertain to the Military Academy only. Anyone can participate in the marching band, choir and pipes and drums.
     Academics, Athletics, Spiritual/Character Development, most activities (i.e. Homecoming, Boar’s Head banquet, etc.) community service, and study support services will be shared between the two academies, allowing for wider social support and interaction for all
    students.
  • The Military Ball may be developed into a co-academy Prom event.
  • Graduation, the class stone ceremony, and reunions will need consideration regarding shared and/or parallel experiences.

The working dress code model for SJNLA is as follows (more details to come):

  • Dress Uniform – white dress shirt, school tie or scarf, SJNLA blazer, slacks/skirts
  • Casual Uniform – SJNLA polo shirt, khaki pant
  • Other – SJNLA short and long PT colors will distinguish SJNMA from SJNLA

Enrollment begins immediately for the 2020-2021 school year.

Families expressing interest in transferring from the Military Academy to the Leadership Academy will be considered on a case by case basis. Academic standing, behavior/discipline records and other factors will be reviewed before a transfer is approved. Please contact the admissions office with your interest to transfer at admissions@sjnma.org.

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