It is a great honor to officially announce the inaugural year of the Ascension Lutheran School 6th Grade Leadership Academy, beginning in the 2022-23 school year. Next school year, our 6th Grade students will journey with our stellar faculty into an exploration of what it means to be a servant leader who develops the character to:

  • Know what is good, true, and honorable.
  • Love and respect people who hold different opinions or beliefs, even as they develop and advocate for their own convictions.
  • Stand for what is right with courage and integrity, even in the face of adversity.
  • Resist peer pressure by being anchored in Christlike character.
  • Recognize and serve our neighbors who are in need.
  • Lead a team to accomplish specific goals.
  • Relate to others in a spirit of humility, always “quick to listen, slow to speak, slow to anger.” (James 1: 19)

While we strive to develop young leaders of character who will navigate the challenges of 7th grade and beyond with faith, honor, and a strong sense of their own worth, we are also committed to academic excellence. Mrs. Farrell, Mrs. Hartson, Mr. Gottmer and Mr. Gregory are working together as the Leadership Academy Team to design a curriculum that will develop both the character and the academic skills that will guide our students to excel in their scholastic journey. The Leadership Academy Team will be meeting throughout the summer to refine this curriculum, but we wanted to give you an idea of what your students will experience next year. Our goal is to build a program that is:

  • Cross-curricular: Field trips and projects will lead to learning in multiple disciplines as real-world issues stimulate the need for students to gain knowledge in specific fields of inquiry.
  • Project-based: Students will be given an objective or a problem to solve and then they will need to seek the tools, team, and resources to complete the project.
  • Academically rigorous, engaging, and fun: As students learn from community leaders and intriguing field trips, they will be challenged to document what they’ve learned with excellence and with an eye toward becoming a great thinker, writer, and life-long learner.

Much of the curriculum is still being created, but we wanted to give you a few examples of the field trips and subsequent projects that we’re excited to develop for the coming year.

  • Westmont and Launchpoint: Visit Westmont and attend Chapel. Meet with Dr. Scott Lisea, Campus Pastor, who travels the country developing students and leading marriage retreats with his wife, Jamie. We’ll then go to a local restaurant for lunch before visiting Launchpoint Technologies in Goleta, where Mike Ricci, one of the co-owners, will speak to our students about what it’s like to create products from scratch, and provide a visual demonstration of one of their projects (an experimental drone for example). The coming weeks in Makerspace and Science class could see a related project complete with learning the inherent scientific lessons necessary for success.
  • Cal Lutheran Exercise Science Lab: Gottmer will lead us through a study of the scientific advances that make athletic excellence more easily reproducible in various athletic disciplines. The follow up in the classroom could include a deeper exploration into exercise science, including the mathematical concepts necessary to correctly interpret the data produced in the lab.
  • Farm to Table Restaurant: Visit with an Ascension family who operates a farm and several restaurants and learn what it takes to lead a successful business. Lessons in class in the following days could include studies of different leadership styles, creation care, and sustainable development.
  • Tour of Scosche Industries: Vince Alves leads this thriving company, which produces a plethora of products from phone holders to Bluetooth speakers and car-mounted cameras. Vince will speak to us about being a successful business owner and following Jesus, as our students see the real-time development of some new products in their research facility. Assignments following will include one to one mentoring with Mr. Gregory in which he will buy each student lunch and meet in his office to discuss who they are as a leader, and how they can grow into a person of character.

Our team has several more field trips and projects planned – our goal is at least one per month for our Leadership Academy throughout the 2022-23 school year – and one of the objectives of our curriculum will be for our students to analyze who inspires them, and to study myriad forms of leadership. Some leaders lead through fear, others through sheer genius, work ethic, getting down “in the trenches” with those they are leading, or by garnering the respect of their colleagues. As they learn from the gifted leaders they will be meeting, each student will be given a leadership journal in which they will begin to map out what kind of leader they are called to become. We are also currently researching some promising “Leadership for Teens” resources that will be a part of their curriculum.

We have a few more spots available for our Leadership Academy, so please feel free to share this document with any friends you’d like to join us on this learning adventure. Please reach out to Mr. Gregory at with any questions.