Search Menu


This site is available only to JEA members. Please log in below.

Creating a leadership commitment contract


Once the leadership team is set, it is time to make it official. The commitment contract will leave no secrets among the leaders, their parents and the adviser. Expectations are spelled out as to what being a leader will entail. A discipline policy, job descriptions, time commitment and norms are also included.

By the end of this lesson, the leaders and their parents will know what to expect in terms of the leadership job they have accepted.


  • Students will understand the depth of the commitment of being a leader.
  • Students will know the expectations of being a leader.
  • Students will know and understand the roles of each leader to create a functional team.
  • Students will participate in a discussion regarding their role on the leadership board.

Common Core Standards

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.9-10.1 Initiate and participate effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grades 9-10 topics, texts, and issues, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly and persuasively.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.W.4 Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.


ROUGH ESTIMATE: 10 hours total that can be broken up as needed


Handout: Sample leadership commitment packet and contract

Data from two other lessons: Media staff goal setting and Assigning job descriptions to leadership (steps 1 and 2 below)

Word processing software (Google Docs, Microsoft Word, Adobe InDesign, Microsoft Publisher)

2-5 computers (varies depending on how many pages to create)

Lesson step-by-step

1. Complete media staff goal setting lesson in JEA curriculum — 2 hours (two 45-60 minute classes)

When student leaders address what a good and bad leader look like, those details can be carried over to this packet/contract to put in writing.

2. Complete assigning job descriptions to leadership lesson in JEA curriculum — 3 hours (broken up over multiple class periods)

When student leaders create their job descriptions and the final details are typed up, those details can be carried over to this packet/contract.

3. Adviser reflection — 1 hour (does not have to be done in one concentrated time)

After all the student leaders have their say on goals and what needs to improve, the adviser needs to reflect over all the data and ensure nothing has been left out. Identify as an adviser a list that includes:

  • what behaviors are wanted out of leaders
  • what behaviors are expected out of leaders
  • unhelpful behaviors that create stress to the media room

Create a list of good and bad to illustrate as the students did. Both lists are important for students to differentiate what is good and what is bad.

If the adviser is brand new completing this lesson, seek the advice of experienced advisers. The new adviser could use the Listserv, local advisers they know, their own social media to network and get a healthy list for this lesson step.

4. Creating the packet — 1 hour

Once steps 1-3 are completed, student leaders can create a document that will serve as a document of everything they have collectively brainstormed. Create 1-2 pages on leader expectations and 1-2 pages on job descriptions for each leader to add as part of the agreement.

5. Creating the contract — 1 hour

Once all the pieces are formalized, with adviser guidance, the contract should be drafted. The group should brainstorm and decide what penalties they are willing to own in the event they can’t hold up their end of the responsibilities. Grades should also be considered in the event students receive academic credit for their position on media staff.

The adviser will also have to go in and add pieces speaking directly to parents. Address parental fears about long hours and high stress. Address how this role as a leader will open up opportunities for their student.

6. Adding principal support — 1 hour

After the packet and contract have been drafted, it is encouraged the adviser discusses the new expectation with school administration. Allow a third party with fresh eyes to look for loopholes; also ensure they will support the adviser should a parent contest a punishment handed to a leader.

7. Finalizing, issuing and signing — 1 hour

After all the edits from steps 1-5 are complete, make a copy for all leaders. Have them take it home and ask them to talk with their parents about what they have created. Have the adviser, student and parent sign the contract. Once all contracts have been returned, duplicate those signed forms to give each leader a copy. Keep the originals as adviser records.

Optional steps:

8. Create a date contract — 30 minutes

If the adviser requires leaders to attend training, planning, meetings or workshops in the summer, a date contract as part of this commitment is a good idea. If planned in advance and this is sent home, parents and leaders are more likely to honor those plans.

9. Create a letter to student and/or parent — 1 hour

The adviser can create a letter to attach to the front of the packet to explain to the parent what all this paper is and why it is important to go over these details with their son/daughter.

The adviser can also create a letter to the student leader to explain why it is so important to have this in writing and the overall expectation moving into the next year.