It was a groundbreaking day at Western Intermediate School in Bellefontaine as they held their first Leadership Day. Community leaders, educators, and parents gathered at the school for a 2 hour tour showcasing young leaders and the positive effects of the program.
Starting at the beginning of this school year, they began The Leader in Me program. The Leader in Me is a school-wide process that develops staff and students as leaders and thereby transforms the culture and performance of the school. The Leader in Me schools seamlessly integrate leadership development into daily curriculum, activities, and systems and achieve meaningful goals, be a positive influence on others, and use his or her own individual gifts to better the world.
The Leader in Me teaches Stephen Covey's The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, which staff, students, and parents adopt as a common language. Those 7 habits are:
1. Be Proactive
2. Begin With the End in Mind
3. Put First Things First
4. Think Win-Win
5. Seek First to Understand, Then to Be Understood
7. Sharpen the Saw (body, heart, mind, spirit)
In order for the school to run the program they must make a 3-year engagement in the process. They must also be 100% participation from the faculty and staff. Western Intermediate began the journey in the summer of 2010 when several teachers went to the Global Summit in California, Pennsylvania. In 2012 the school had to write for a grant to run the program which costs approximately $40,000. Western Intermediate was one of two schools in Ohio to receive the grant. The other was right here in Bellefontaine as well. Northeastern Elementary received the other grant. In the fall of 2012, The Leader in Me teaching started at Western Intermediate.
Friday's Leadership Day was about the students hosting the community to show us what has been happening over the last school year. The morning began with each guest being greeting by several students as you entered the school (pictured above). Then the students put on a presentation in the gymnasium (pictured) explaining the process of the 7 habits. After that, the adults broke up into groups and were led throughout the school and personal tours from assigned students. The tour included examples of how the classrooms are using each of the 7 habits and how the students are responding. The day concluded with a question-and-answer session back in the gym.
School Principal Lynda Holycross shared with the guests that The Leadership in Me program has shown great results in the school in the first year. Students shared their thoughts on the impact, too. Some of the effects have been less discipline slips and less bullying. The team concept is being used everyday, students hold each other accountable, students show more confidence, and at times students even solve their own issues with the teacher serving as a moderator.
The evidence proves that this program has been a positive to the school and should help the students and staff in the future.