Tag: Leadership Course

Philosophy Makes Students Smarter in Math and English

Many parents have the perception that philosophy does not improve their student’s education. However, philosophy courses may actually help students to improve in their courses in a far greater manner than any would suppose. A case study by the Endowment Education Foundation had the following characteristics:

  • Controlled test on the effectiveness of philosophy
  • Nine- and Ten-year-old children
  • Test comprised of more than 3,000 kids in 48 schools across England
  • Classes were for 40-minutes, once a week for a year
  • Twenty-two schools acted as a control group, while students at the other 26 took the philosophy class

The Topics Discussed:

  • Concepts such as truth, justice, friendship, and knowledge, with time carved out for silent reflection, question making, question airing, and building on one another’s thoughts and ideas.

Results in Academics:

  • Increased math and reading scores by the equivalent of 2 extra months of teaching
  • Children from disadvantaged backgrounds saw an even bigger leap in performance: reading skills increased by four months, math by three months, and writing by two months
  • Teachers also reported a beneficial impact on students’ confidence and ability to listen to others
  • The beneficial effects of the philosophy course lasted for two years
  • Even though the course was not designed to improve literacy or numeracy, the intervention group continued to outperform the control group long after the classes had finished

See more information at:


A Philosophy Course For Your High School Student

Similarly, Leadership Society of Arizona teaches a unique leadership philosophy in its course. This philosophy is based off 24-years of research at Arizona State University. This course teaches students a way to learn 5x quicker, how to decrease worry and stress, and a structure that enables them to “know everything without knowing anything”. Consequently, the leadership methodology helps students to develop the mind of an experienced leader at an early age. The course helps students break down complexity by using logic and natural laws to identify and solve issues.

What is Taught?

The course teaches simple natural laws that that will enable students to simplify complexity and understand “the why” with minimal amounts of information. Furthermore, the course material comes from history’s visionaries, including Socrates, Einstein, and Deming. Through discussion, debate, presentations and written assignments, students will learn natural laws that will help them quickly understand people, life, social issues, and themselves.

The main Natural Laws and Logic learned in this course are as follows:

  1. Cause and Effect
  2. Natural Laws do not have exceptions
  3. Everything that you go through is connected to you.
  4. No-influence
  5. No one knows everything.
  6. Extremes simplify life.
  7. Leadership is aligning resources

Students that have taken LSA’s courses have made lasting changes to their lives, while also improving their academics. As students are less stressed and take more accountability for their lives, they will produce better results in the classroom as shown here and here.

Leadership Society of Arizona Is For All Students

Leadership Society of Arizona works with all students to increase their productivity, to develop their problem-solving skills and to expand on the knowledge that they already have. Catering to the student needs, LSA focuses on coaching students to become successful in all facets of their lives. Sign up for one of our 2017 summer programs here, and if you have any questions, feel free to call Joseph Kashiwagi at 480-313-4488 or email at joseph.k@old.leadaz.org.

How to Help Elite Students Be Successful


Many parents have dreams of sending their children to attend the most prestigious colleges. Places like Harvard, Yale, and Princeton have become symbols of student success and intelligence. Parents pride themselves in sending their children to elite schools, thinking that their children will be guaranteed success. Although this dream could result in success, it could also turn into a nightmare.

The elite schools in the nation have reported problems with issues related to stress, mental health and even suicide . 35% of Princeton students said that they developed a mental health issue after coming to campus. Rates of attempted suicide at Harvard College are almost twice the national rate.

Top high schools in the nation have found the same issues occurring with their student population. New York University conducted studies on top level high schools evaluating stress, and mental health issues. Nearly half (49%) of all students reported feeling a great deal of stress on a daily basis. 31% reported feeling somewhat stressed. A substantial minority, 26% of participants, reported symptoms of depression at a clinically significant level.

Parents & Schools are finding out that even the most intelligent students need help!

After-School Summer Programs

As we can see from these elite schools, mental health issues are a major problem. These intelligent students need to learn basic life skills to handle stress, overcome depression, and understand their value. These basic skills are not being taught in school. The elite schools have no idea how to remedy this situation.

In response to the evident need of students to learn these basic skills, Leadership Society of Arizona (LSA) has developed a curriculum to resolve some of these issues. Just this year, LSA has started to offer an after-school program that teaches this curriculum. It is designed to help students to reduce their stress levels, build confidence and increase happiness.

The LSA curriculum teaches students:

  • To understand who they are
  • How to manage stress & depression
  • To realize their unique traits & value
  • How to be successful in the future

LSA has proven in various summer programs to be extremely successful in reducing stress and issues in students. However, LSA had never tested this curriculum with students from top level schools.

LSA Partnership with BASIS

elite-school-basis-scottsdale-2After discussing the LSA curriculum with former Principal Elizabeth McConaghy of Scottsdale Basis, she was intrigued by the results of the program. She immediately knew that it was something that her elite school needed.

The only problem was finding available time in the students’ schedule to attend the course. She decided to run a pilot after-school program with 4 sessions of 45 mins (3 hrs. total) to test out the LSA curriculum. This was extremely unique because usually LSA holds summer programs with a weeklong session for a total of 16 hours of instruction. Despite this unique circumstance, Scottsdale Basis became the first elite school to implement the LSA Curriculum with such a limited time commitment.

Elite School:BASIS Scottsdale


BASIS Scottsdale is one of the most prestigious high schools in Arizona. U.S. News ranked Basis Scottsdale as #2 best school in the nation and is ranked #1 in Arizona. Basis students have the opportunity to take Advanced Placement courses and exams. 100% of Stude   nts participate in the program. Basis students take an average of 11.3 AP Exams, which equally up to about 33 college credits. Based upon analysis of test performance and college readiness, it has some of the most qualified and intelligent students in the nation.

Observations of the program

The program consisted of seven students from 9-12 grade with only six completing the course. As we watched the students come into class, we could see the exhaustion from a full day of school. Although most students were tired, all of them wanted to be in class and were eager to learn. The unusual thing was that the students weren’t excited to go home. It was later on that I found out that they had hours of homework and studying waiting for them at home. Two students in particular would come into class and would work on homework throughout the entire class.

Despite the fact that they spent exorbitant amount of time on homework, none of the students knew what they wanted to do in the future. When asked “what the purpose of school was?”, they responded “get rich”, “go to college” and “get a good job”. The students were so caught up in school that they didn’t see the purpose of school. We explained to them that school was there to help them to fulfill their dreams, to improve themselves, and to add value to the world. Helping them to realize this concept made them more excited to come to school, less stressed about grades, and more focused on their dreams.

Results of program

elite-school-basis-scottsdaleAt the beginning of the course, we were unsure of the change we would see in the students with such a short period of instruction.  However, at the end of the course, we could see the change in their appearance. Their faces were less tense, their body more relaxed, and they thanked us at the end of every class, leaving with a smile on their faces.

We administered a survey at the beginning and end of the course to each student to track the change in each student. We found the results of the program to be significant to the students. The results are below:

  • 42% Reduction In Stress
  • 47% Increased Confidence
  • 36% Increased Happiness
  • 100% Enjoyed The Course & Would Recommend It

One of the students, that was forced to come, commented “This course helped me to lower my stress and learn more about my future”. By the end of the course, all the students were more excited to come to school and felt less depressed. As the main instructor for the course, it was amazing to see the change in the attitude of each student for the better.


Elite colleges and high schools struggle with students being able to cope with stress and worry. Leadership Society of Arizona has created a program that allows students to reduce their stress levels, build their confidence and increase their happiness. The BASIS Scottsdale pilot case study demonstrates LSA only needs a short about of time to be effective in benefiting intelligent students. The drastic change in the students’ stress and confidence is evidence of the effectiveness of the program.  As we continue to test this program with other schools, we expect to obtain the same results. We look forward to partnering with more elite schools to tackle the hard issues of stress, depression and suicide.

Please contact jake.g@old.leadaz.org for more information!

Improving Learning by Shifting the Focus of Education


“Maybe it’s time that we shift our focus from trying to teach students to be successful at school and instead focus on teaching students to be successful at life.”


The Issue: High School Student Success

Student life encompasses more than homework, quizzes, and tests. It is friendships, relationships, extracurricular clubs, athletics, and everything in between. Studies have been identifying many factors that affect a student’s academic performance for years. The most important factors might not even be a student’s IQ, teachers, or school environment. In fact, a child’s ability to deal with family, social, and personal issues might have more of an impact on their academic performance. Every year, over 1.2 million students drop out of high school. In college, statistics reveal that 4 year graduation rate is less than 50%.

Despite all of the resources being used to try and improve student academic performance, the U.S. K-12 education system is ranked only 17th in the world. Finland’s educational system  is ranked 1st in the world. It focuses on more free time for students and a decreased emphasis on grades. Students are encouraged to learn more about themselves and their capabilities, rather than learning technical skills. They spend less time in school, do less homework, but they seem to learn more and place higher in world academic tests than U.S. students.

The Proposal

We have known for a long time now that the education system is not working for our students. It might be because we have been focusing on the wrong factors. For the last 20 years government initiatives have continued to try to improve student learning through more difficult and technical curriculum (recently the common core and STEM initiatives). Maybe it’s time that we shift our focus from trying to teach students to be successful at school and instead focus on teaching students to be successful at life.

The Experiment

This summer, masters and PhD researchers from the Leadership Society of Arizona (LSA) at Arizona State University created a curriculum that focused on helping students simplify life. The curriculum helps students to understand more about who they are, relationships, people, and other factors that determine success, etc. The curriculum is based off of a proven leadership/management approach that has been tested in business for the last 25 years. The Leadership approach has been implemented in 1900+ tests in 33 states and 9 countries, on more than $6B of services. The goal of the high school summer program was to identify if teaching students about how to be successful at life and helping them with their personal issues, can that help the students improve their behavior, enjoy life more, and increase their ability to learn.

The Results

High School Student Success

Instructor with Students

The high school summer program results were incredible. After a week of getting to know the students and collecting data, the researchers identified some powerful trends. 71% of the students reported that they feel less stressed, and 60% said they feel both happier and more accountable. The students rated the course  a 9.8/10 rating. 95% of the students’ parents identified behavioral changes in the students with just one week of education. All the students felt that they could perform better academically with due to the education. Some of the students identified the following from the high school summer program:

Now I know that things happen for a reason, my family is unique, and all the struggles have helped me become who I am.” – Noemi Valdez (age 15)

“I learned that success is not an accident.” – Victor Solis (age 15)

“[The program] wasn’t just about ASU; it was about me, about the people around me, about the future.” – Diana Perez (age 17)

“[The program] was so enjoyable. I wish all school was like this” – Morgan Percy-Fine (age 15)

Overall this course has helped me know who I am..” – Christopher Kim (age 14)

“[The program] was helpful. I went in as a punishment, but I am glad I came.” Matt Blasé (age 16)



It seems that society has forgotten what the goal of education is. Education should prepare a child to be successful at life. It should enable a child to survive in the world and add value to society. Due to the business side of education, we have placed more value on math, science, and language, instead of people. The goal is now to teach students how to place highly on standardized test, get good grades, obtain scholarships, and write college application letters.  The goal should be focused on teaching students to add value to society, to have successful relationships, and to live a happy life. It is time we refocus and remember education is learning about reality and how to live, not grades.

For more information: sign up for the conference in October and visit our website for more information on the high school summer program.

Observing the State of U.S. Education

 Education Reform

The education system was developed with the intent to do three things:

  1. Prepare children to add value to society.
  2. Help children identify what occupation they would like to have.
  3. Teach children basic skills to allow them to survive in society.

Higher education was created to further these goals and the development of high school students.

The Current State of Education

Leadership Education

The U.S. academic education system has continually struggled to try and meet these objectives. The results of the reforms and efforts to improve the system has not yielded the best results. Currently over 60% of all college graduates are unhappy with their careers. This is despite the fact that 50%-75% of college students will change their major at least once during their undergraduate programs and many will change it as much as 3 times before they graduate. If we were to look at only students without a college education the percentage would be even greater.

These statistics are of course are only looking at employed graduates. The recent graduate unemployment rate was 7.2% (compared to 5.5% in 2007). It might seem that the amount of graduates that can’t find work is small, but when you look at the demand companies have for workers, it is amazing that all college graduates cannot find good jobs. When employers were asked in regards to their hiring needs, they identified a high demand for skilled entry level workers. However, 57% of employers agreed that it was difficult to find such workers.

Currently more than 50% of college graduates pursue careers that are not related to their majors. This could be a result of both the academic system not giving students an accurate picture of what type of work their degree will require and also students trying to find jobs with the skill set their education provided for them.


Leadership Education

Part of the problem with the non-performance of the U.S. education system stems from how we measure its success. For example, K12 schools measure their success on how many high school students go to college and how well students perform on standardized tests and academic exams. K12 schools do not measure how stressed their high school students are or if their students actually find jobs in a field that they enjoy.

They do not measure how much value their high school students provide to society. The impact of focusing on the wrong measurements is that it changes the goal of the system. The goal now becomes helping students perform better on examinations and getting into college. The academic system is no longer worried about the value a student can provide to society or if they have learned the basic skills to allow them to survive in society. The reality is that doing well in school does not guarantee a high school student will be successful in life and in the professional industry.

So what does a child need to be successful? What can we do to improve the U.S. education system? We will review this in our next blog…


The “No Rules” Classroom – Improving Accountability & Confidence

Have you ever heard of classroom where there were no rules? It sounds crazy doesn’t it? In our leadership high school summer program for high school students, this type of classroom is made a reality. At the start of the summer program, our teachers explain to the students that there are “no rules”. “No rules” means that students can say, do and act any way they want without the fear of punishment.

Most people would imagine this type of high school summer program would be chaotic and unruly but something interesting happens during the summer course. By the end of the week, even the students forced to come by their parents enjoy coming and over 60% of the students reported feeling more confident and accountable. At the end of the program, one parent said “[My son] had a phenomenal learning experience. We could see a real change in his attitude, confidence and how he conducts himself.”

How were we able to help these students become more accountable and confident? The secret: Simplifying life through natural laws and logic, enabling children to know, want and do things to make them more successful.

Educational Problem

Leadership Society of Arizona identified a fundamental issue in our current educational system, it forces students to think. The world has made major advancements in the last twenty years. This has created many technical specialties. This has increased the complexity and the amount of information a student must learn. Education tries to prepare students by teaching them all of this information, but in the process it confuses and puts tremendous pressure on the students, causing them to stress, worry, be unmotivated and develop detrimental social behaviors. By pushing the students to fill their minds with more and more information and details, the students no longer can understand the purpose of life and who they are. They lose themselves. From an initial survey at our high school summer program, we identified that 39% of students felt that they had limited to no control over their life.

The Great Minds in History

High School Summer Program

Mohandas Gandhi

We searched for solutions to this problem by looking at the greatest minds in history like Socrates, Einstein, Ghandi, etc… As we analyzed these great minds, we found a similar concept and characteristic that all of them shared. All of these great leaders instead of focusing on complex ideas and memorizing details, they focused on helping people to understand the purpose of life and use natural laws and logic.  We realized that in order to get our students to be more confident, successful and motivated, we needed to simplify life and help them develop an understanding of who they are and what their purpose in life is..

Simplifying Life

With this idea in mind, we changed the way we ran our high school summer program. We found the only way to help a person figure out what they want is to allow them freedom to do what they want. Thus, we did the following:

  1. Eliminated all rules
  2. Created a flexible curriculum where the students can choose the topics.
  3. Instructors are more focused on getting to know the students than teaching a certain amount of information. This helps the students learn about themselves.
  4. Gives students an opportunity to present.

We also found that in order to simplify life for the students and give them a framework in which they could use to explore life and make sense of their thoughts, was to teach them natural laws and logic. Natural laws are simple and they are powerful because they work everywhere and in every discipline. For example, the law of gravity, whether in physics or in sports, the law of gravity works the same and is important to understand.

High School Summer Program Results

High School Summer Program

Summer Program Instructors

After a week of students being exposed to this type of environment, they made great improvement. The results showed that students were 39% more confident, 75% more accountable (believing they have control over their own lives) and 19% happier. One student said “I like how this class made life easier and actually happier for me; teaching me how I am in control of my life.”

The parents are continually shocked by the results they see in their kids. 100% of the parents would enroll their student again. Along with that, 91% believed that the high school summer program helped their child develop leadership skills.


Our current educational system produces students that are more stressed, worried, depressed. Students from this system have a difficult time understanding life and who they are. Although this system might teach more information, it causes them to be less successful and happy. In order to remedy our current system, we focus lee on helping students learn the “what” in life. We spend more time teach the students to understand the “why”. This is necessary to make sure they understand themselves and life.

For more information click here!