Through a school transformation model known as The Leader in Me, two Lee’s Summit R-7 elementary schools are helping students learn leadership skills, gain self-confidence, work well with others and learn how to set and reach goals.
Highland Park Elementary and Pleasant Lea Elementary initiated The Leader in Me this fall with the help of grants from Panda Express. Each school received an approximately $40,000 grant that covered training for staff members and materials for the program.
Based on FranklinCovey’s “Seven Habits of Highly Effective People,” The Leader in Me includes curriculum and activities designed to help schools seamlessly integrate leadership development into classrooms. The program is actually a three-year process with schools involved reporting decreased student discipline referrals, elevated student achievement, increased staff collaboration and morale and increased parent involvement and satisfaction.
Within each school, hallways and classrooms are decorated with signs and murals depicting the seven habits. These include be proactive, begin with the end in mind, put first things first, think win-win, seek first to understand/then to be understood, synergize and sharpen the saw. The goal is to have visual reminders about leadership in all areas of the school.
Soon after initiating The Leader in Me, students throughout both schools were incorporating the seven habits in their day-to-day life.
During summer 2013, staff members at the two schools worked together to develop each school’s mission statement. When teachers returned to the classrooms in August, they helped students collaborate to create their classroom mission statements.
Leadership development among students began immediately with students taking on specific leadership roles in their classrooms. Fifth- and sixth-grade students applied for school-wide leadership jobs with each student being assigned to their first, second or third choice.
In addition, each student has a leadership notebook, sets individual goals, develops a plan to meet these goals and regularly evaluates progress.