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January 14, 2016 Getting Started With "The Leader in Me" By Meghan Everette
Grades PreK–K, 1–2, 3–5, 6–8, 9–12

    Stephen R. Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People has been a staple for anyone trying to better their life and achieve more at both work and home. His ideas for adults were adapted to work with students through The Leader in Me (LIM) school transformation process. Our school is just starting this journey, but the transformation is already underway. The program is based on the premise that, "every child can be a leader" and helps you to focus on your personal goals while getting more done. Here’s a little peek into how we’ve started adopting this philosophy throughout our school.

     

    The Habits

    There are seven habits that build from the point of working on yourself to working with others. The order is supposed to provide a foundation to grow on. Here are the habits and what they mean to me:

    1. Be Proactive
      You have to be in charge of you. Take the time to do what's right no matter what is going on around you. Plan for the success you want to have.

    2. Begin With the End in Mind
      Set goals. Think of what you want for your life and what that means for your year, your week, and your day. Start with the big goals (as in I want to be remembered as a great sister) and fill in the other spaces (so I need to call my sister and check in today).

    3. Put First Things First
      Get your work done first, then there is time to play. The most important things in your life must be taken care of before anything else.

    4. Think Win-Win
      Look for compromise in all situations. There shouldn't be a winner and a loser in any scenario; all situations can have wins for every party involved.

    5. Seek First to Understand, Then to be Understood
      If you want to work with others, you have to listen and try to understand the other perspective before promoting your own agenda.

    6. Synergize
      Work together. Use the talents of a group to create a better whole than the sum of its parts. Cooperate.

    7. Sharpen the Saw
      Find what you love and take time for it. You are no good to anyone else if you don't take care of yourself. Rest, relax, and recharge through activities that interest you.

    Star Students

    Any student who has excelled in embodying one or more of the seven habits can be nominated for a Shining Star by any staff member. Our principal announces recipients during morning announcements and then personally delivers a certificate and goody bag to the child sometime later that day. Each child has a picture taken and displayed with a listing of the habit they were awarded for near the main office. Students and parents are very proud of this honor and it is a fun way to honor students who just simply do the right thing.

    Star Student formshining star student

     

    Trees

    The symbol of Leader in Me is often a tree, because you begin working on the first habits first and progress to working with others. The idea is you need to take care of yourself and your goals before you can communicate effectively with others. You’ll find trees all over our school, from the donation tree assembled by PTO to teacher wishes. The tree theme takes on different personalities depending on who is displaying it and is a fun, unified way to share our focus throughout the school.

    seven habits tree Swirly tree

    paper tree painted wish tree

    Positivity

    Being positive is an important part of any successful school year. Displays that promote leadership and a great attitude are found all over the school. For the staff, there are bulletin boards highlighting the work that we do with each other. The teacher workroom features a board for positive notes highlighting what coworkers have done. Our third grade classrooms have leaders displayed on boards painted outside each classroom. We made posters at the start of the year and display one a week. Classroom job lists are renamed Leader Boards.

    leader board jobs featured leader poster leader board

    coworker spotlight bulletin board leader of the week positive note board

    Hall Displays

    A great way to start off the school year, return from winter break, or finish up the year is with goal setting. Many hall displays emphasize goals students set. Large hallway murals liven up blank spaces and illustrate the seven habits. Classwork and event photos are accompanied by leadership quotes and habit posters. Even the school motto: "Love, Learn, Lead" and staff photos have an updated look. Street signs peek from previously overlooked corners and everywhere (even the gym) has a display. Students are surrounded by positive leadership traits all day.

    bathroom quote leadership doorway learn and lead board

    gym painting leadership glyph snowman glyph

    Hallway mural hallway mural hallway goals

    New Year goals hallway pirate door staff photo

    Work Undone

    The Leader in Me is a change in thinking. It takes time to change habits, for both staff and students. We’ve come a long unfinished hallway paintingway, but there is more to do. Just like it will take years to fully integrate these ideas into our lives, it will take years to have a school that personifies all that we believe in.

    You don’t have to be a Leader in Me school to promote great leadership among coworkers and students. How do you encourage leadership at your school?

    Stephen R. Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People has been a staple for anyone trying to better their life and achieve more at both work and home. His ideas for adults were adapted to work with students through The Leader in Me (LIM) school transformation process. Our school is just starting this journey, but the transformation is already underway. The program is based on the premise that, "every child can be a leader" and helps you to focus on your personal goals while getting more done. Here’s a little peek into how we’ve started adopting this philosophy throughout our school.

     

    The Habits

    There are seven habits that build from the point of working on yourself to working with others. The order is supposed to provide a foundation to grow on. Here are the habits and what they mean to me:

    1. Be Proactive
      You have to be in charge of you. Take the time to do what's right no matter what is going on around you. Plan for the success you want to have.

    2. Begin With the End in Mind
      Set goals. Think of what you want for your life and what that means for your year, your week, and your day. Start with the big goals (as in I want to be remembered as a great sister) and fill in the other spaces (so I need to call my sister and check in today).

    3. Put First Things First
      Get your work done first, then there is time to play. The most important things in your life must be taken care of before anything else.

    4. Think Win-Win
      Look for compromise in all situations. There shouldn't be a winner and a loser in any scenario; all situations can have wins for every party involved.

    5. Seek First to Understand, Then to be Understood
      If you want to work with others, you have to listen and try to understand the other perspective before promoting your own agenda.

    6. Synergize
      Work together. Use the talents of a group to create a better whole than the sum of its parts. Cooperate.

    7. Sharpen the Saw
      Find what you love and take time for it. You are no good to anyone else if you don't take care of yourself. Rest, relax, and recharge through activities that interest you.

    Star Students

    Any student who has excelled in embodying one or more of the seven habits can be nominated for a Shining Star by any staff member. Our principal announces recipients during morning announcements and then personally delivers a certificate and goody bag to the child sometime later that day. Each child has a picture taken and displayed with a listing of the habit they were awarded for near the main office. Students and parents are very proud of this honor and it is a fun way to honor students who just simply do the right thing.

    Star Student formshining star student

     

    Trees

    The symbol of Leader in Me is often a tree, because you begin working on the first habits first and progress to working with others. The idea is you need to take care of yourself and your goals before you can communicate effectively with others. You’ll find trees all over our school, from the donation tree assembled by PTO to teacher wishes. The tree theme takes on different personalities depending on who is displaying it and is a fun, unified way to share our focus throughout the school.

    seven habits tree Swirly tree

    paper tree painted wish tree

    Positivity

    Being positive is an important part of any successful school year. Displays that promote leadership and a great attitude are found all over the school. For the staff, there are bulletin boards highlighting the work that we do with each other. The teacher workroom features a board for positive notes highlighting what coworkers have done. Our third grade classrooms have leaders displayed on boards painted outside each classroom. We made posters at the start of the year and display one a week. Classroom job lists are renamed Leader Boards.

    leader board jobs featured leader poster leader board

    coworker spotlight bulletin board leader of the week positive note board

    Hall Displays

    A great way to start off the school year, return from winter break, or finish up the year is with goal setting. Many hall displays emphasize goals students set. Large hallway murals liven up blank spaces and illustrate the seven habits. Classwork and event photos are accompanied by leadership quotes and habit posters. Even the school motto: "Love, Learn, Lead" and staff photos have an updated look. Street signs peek from previously overlooked corners and everywhere (even the gym) has a display. Students are surrounded by positive leadership traits all day.

    bathroom quote leadership doorway learn and lead board

    gym painting leadership glyph snowman glyph

    Hallway mural hallway mural hallway goals

    New Year goals hallway pirate door staff photo

    Work Undone

    The Leader in Me is a change in thinking. It takes time to change habits, for both staff and students. We’ve come a long unfinished hallway paintingway, but there is more to do. Just like it will take years to fully integrate these ideas into our lives, it will take years to have a school that personifies all that we believe in.

    You don’t have to be a Leader in Me school to promote great leadership among coworkers and students. How do you encourage leadership at your school?

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