Wednesday, May 25, 2011

District showcases leadership program

‘The Leader in Me’ planned for all elementary schools next year


By TERRY SMITH
Express Staff Writer

The Blaine County School District showcased its new "The Leader in Me" program earlier this month at Carey School, where officials report that the program has had a dramatic effect on student performance, attitudes and behavior.

"We used to have enough D's and F's that we were concerned," Carey Principal John Peck stated in a news release. "Now, for the first year ever, we have only four F's in grades 7-12 for the school year. It's The Leader in Me that has changed our academic focus and shifted the culture of our school."

The Leader in Me program was piloted this year at Carey School and Hailey Elementary School at a cost of about $50,000 for teacher training and materials. School district officials have been ecstatic about the success of the pilot program and in April the board of trustees voted unanimously to extend the program to Bellevue, Hemingway and Woodside elementary schools next school year.

The Leader in Me teaching concept was developed by best-selling author Stephen Covey and has now been implemented at nearly 500 schools worldwide. According to the news release, the program incorporates concepts into the school curriculum that help students become proactive, have goals, prioritize, think "win-win," seek understanding, develop teamwork and balance and renew resources, energy and health.

Carey Mayor Randy Patterson attended The Leader in Me showcase event May 5 at Carey School. He said the program has "affected the entire community."

"We're preparing these children for life," Patterson stated. "It's an excellent program to help these children learn how to interact with each other and to be life-long learners."

"It's changed students self-confidence to the level that it's increased my effectiveness as a teacher," stated Carey elementary teacher Lacee Hennefer. "Their belief in their abilities makes it so the students come to school ready to learn."

Hailey elementary Principal Tom Bailey has reported similar results at his school, stating in a recent letter to the school board that the program has "reduced the number of discipline referrals because students work their issues out together."

Terry Smith: tsmith@mtexpress.com




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