Student Engagement and Applied Leadership (SEAL)

North Hillsborough School won a San Mateo County J. Russell Kent Award in 2015 for our innovative fifth grade leadership program called SEAL.

The SEAL program at North Hillsborough School SEAL program provides opportunities for fifth grade students to assume leadership positions in the school. By accepting leadership roles, participants act as role models to younger students, learn to accept responsibility, and provide community service to North School and the student body. The SEAL program participants perform small, but critical, roles on the campus. Their participation in the program makes the school and campus a safer, more beautiful, more compassionate and understanding place, and a place in which all take pride. The SEAL program was developed to help meet district’s Essential Outcomes in the areas of leadership. The teachers created it because they needed a way for their students to learn about leadership and build their leadership skills. It was also a way to give the older students something constructive to do with their downtime and it reduced playground conflict.

At the beginning of fifth grade, all of the students are told all about the SEAL program. Students are encouraged to apply for at least one job. The teachers survey all staff members to find out what jobs are needed for the first semester and a list of jobs is compiled to show the students. The students are told they may apply for up to six jobs and they must state their qualifications for each job. The students also state how many days per week they would prefer to work. Once the student fills out the application form, a parent must sign off that they are aware their child is applying for the jobs and that they approve. This process usually takes one month and when it is complete the students are matched with their jobs and they begin to work.

The job duties are performed before school, during recess, and during lunch recess. Many students end up with more than one job. There are two lead parent volunteers, from the parent organization called the North Parent Group, and they are tasked with putting together blue booklets, with yarn attached, so the students can wear these booklets as necklaces while performing their jobs. After their job is complete for the day, they can ask any nearby adult to verify the work took place to sign off on the volunteer minutes completed.

The program is voluntary and that was intentional in order to allow the students to take ownership of their free time and do their jobs willingly and with pride. All fifth grade students are encouraged to be a part of this program and most do participate. It is a great way for students to learn how to make a positive impact on the school community, and learn how it feels to give back to the community of teachers, staff, parents, and fellow students who work so diligently on their behalf.


Here is an example of the available leadership jobs from a previous year. These jobs change over time as programs and needs change.


Conflict Mediator

Bridge School Buddy

Game Referee


Flag Master

Lost and Found



Kindergarten Assistant

First Grade Assistant

Second Grade Assistant

Third Grade Assistant

Fourth Grade Assistant

Learning Center Aide

Preschool and Recess Aide

Innovation Lab Assistant

Lunch Aides

School Lunch Assistant

Lunch Recycling


Reading Room Recycler

Office Recycler

Litter Lovers