The Leader in Me

Yesterday I had the opportunity to visit Pleasant Lea Elementary, a K-6 school in the Lee’s Summit R-7 School District. The primary purpose of the visit was to observe implementation of The Leader in Me model.

We were given a student-led tour of the school, visited some classrooms, and spoke with teachers/ building principal. Unfortunately, educators don’t have many opportunities to visit other schools/ districts. The afternoon at Pleasant Lea revealed a very purposeful and student-centered environment:

  1. The school mission is LEARN – LEAD – SERVE – SUCCEED. This simple mission, which is posted in the school, can be remembered and actually drive the work of the school. In addition to the school mission, each classroom has created their own mission (posted outside of classrooms) that personalized/supported the school’s. Students know their class mission, and it clearly defines their purpose.
  2. The students’ data is proudly displayed. Data walls show student achievement and growth at both the classroom and grade level. It is evident that data is used to drive learning.
    IMG_4312 IMG_4311
  3. Every student has an individual data binder. Students are eager to share and discuss their personal goals and documented growth. It is powerful to see students tracking their learning and taking ownership over their own education.
  4. Students greet you at the door of their classrooms. It is obvious they have clearly learned the importance of communication and how to appropriately interact with others (introducing themselves with a smile, handshake, eye-contact, etc). The emphasis on communication has created a very welcoming and positive climate.
  5. The Leader in Me program is developed based on Stephen Covey’s The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. Students not only know the seven habits, they understand them, can explain each in their own words, and can tell you how the habits help them inside and outside of school. The students are developing confidence and leadership in an authentic, positive way.

HABIT 1 : BE PROACTIVE
HABIT 2: BEGIN WITH THE END IN MIND
HABIT 3: PUT FIRST THINGS FIRST
HABIT 4: THINK WIN-WIN
HABIT 5: SEEK FIRST TO UNDERSTAND, THEN TO BE UNDERSTOOD
HABIT 6: SYNERGIZE
HABIT 7: SHARPEN THE SAW

I always appreciate being able to spend time in another school/ district, and yesterday was an illustration of that. Observations provide an opportunity to see something different, gain new ideas, and reflect on your own reality. I walked away with a positive impression of how The Leader in Me helps schools strategically move to a student-centered environment but also a renewed sense of inspiration in the current commitment to empowering students in my schools.

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