Elementary Schools Celebrate Leadership Day

Waukee Community School District (WCSD) Leader In Me schools Brookview Elementary, Maple Grove Elementary and Waukee Elementary each celebrated Leadership Day the week of February 26. An entire day was dedicated to displaying the leadership and responsibility their students practice every day.

“Countless examples exist of adults and students both leading and pursuing their passions in ways we would never have imagined,” said Waukee Elementary principal Nicole Johnson. “We believe that living the habits of leadership beginning at such a young age creates life-long leadership skills that students carry with them throughout their education and beyond as they enter the workforce.”

Educators from WCSD and other districts in Iowa came to the event to learn about the Leader In Me philosophy and how it’s incorporated into the elementary curriculum at these schools.

There are 3,529 schools internationally that participate in Leader In Me. Leader In Me schools utilizes Franklin Covey’s process of coaching, recognizing and reflecting on habits such as leadership, teamwork, problem-solving, etc. The main idea emphasized throughout the philosophy is that everyone can be a leader and can initiate change.

All staff members in these buildings participate in the Leader In Me process. Brookview’s Elementary second grade teacher Cari Bergman shared her story during the event. At first, she did not truly believe in the process but tried it for the sake of her students. Soon, her mental health and self-esteem began to improve.

“From the seven habits, I learned that I have to create my own happiness and that all started with my mission statement,” said Bergman. “We would revisit a habit, or I would teach one in class and I practiced what I preached, not really on purpose, it just happened. And day by day, I just got happier.”

Additionally, Maple Grove Elementary teacher Carly Stahn used the interpersonal habits in her personal life and managed to reach her weight loss goals and cut her body weight in half. Stahn went on to receive $10,000 from Farrell’s Extreme Body Transformation for her achievement.

“You need to get specific, measurable goals, make purposeful and meaningful action steps, keep yourself accountable, and never give up.  If you do what you say you are going to do, success is yours,” said Stahn.

Currently, six WCSD schools have implemented Leader In Me: Brookview Elementary, Maple Grove Elementary, Shuler Elementary, Walnut Hills Elementary, Waukee Elementary and Woodland Hills Elementary.

“The integration of the Leader In Me has had an incredibly positive impact on our school’s climate and culture as well as our student achievement and attendance. There are countless examples as to how paradigms have shifted as a result of implementing the principles of each of the eight habits,” said Maple Grove principal Kimberly Tierney.

Eason and Grant Ragan Elementary School are finding success with other teaching philosophies. Eason Elementary School has been featured in the book The Curious Classroom by Harvey Daniels for its success in teaching with student-directed inquiry. Grant Ragan Elementary School is in the process of implementing Responsive Classroom, an evidence-based approach to education that focuses on the strong relationship between academic success and social-emotional learning (SEL).

7 Habits:

  • 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 (“Working together is better”)
  • Habit 7: Sharpen the Saw