Area Schools Embrace the Leader in Every Child
Every child can be a leader.
This is the premise that The Leader in Me schools are built on. The Leader in Me, a FranklinCovey program, is a self-described transformation process that teaches leadership and life skills to students in more than 2,500 elementary and middle schools throughout the world. There are several The Leader in Me schools in the Metro area, including Olathe, Parkville, Independence, Grain Valley, Lee’s Summit, and Kansas City, Missouri.
The goal of The Leader in Me program is to integrate leadership development, curricula and traditions at each school which, in turn enhances relationships, transforms culture, and motivates staff members and students to value and develop not just study skills, but leadership and life skills.
Though FranklinCovey draws inspiration and guidance from various leaders in the fields of business and education, Steven Covey’s book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People is a key component in the process and implementation of the programs.
Mark Heck, principal of Forest View Elementary School in Olathe, was introduced to The Leader in Me after he was named as principal-to-be of Forest View.
“I thought it was a perfect fit for what I was about to do: create a brand new school from the ground up–its culture, its philosophy, and its foundation,” says Heck. “When I started interviewing staff, I had the book at the interviews and shared my vision with all the candidates. There was buy-in and excitement about The Leader in Me from the get-go.”
Heck explains that a leadership school abides by five core paradigms: The Paradigm of Leadership (everyone can be a leader); The Paradigm of Potential (everyone has genius); The Paradigm of Change (change starts with me); The Paradigm of Motivation (educators empower students); and The Paradigm of Education (develop the whole person). There are rubrics that correspond to each paradigm; not only do the schools work to implement each rubric into everyday school life, but students are given ample opportunities to lead throughout the school.
Those leadership opportunities help students learn to be self-reliant and teach them to plan ahead, set and track goals, prioritize their time, manage their emotions, resolve conflicts, express themselves persuasively, find creative solutions, value differences, and be considerate of others. Feedback from parents, substitute teachers, and community members laud local The Leader in Me school students as respectful, confident, and polite, and school environment as friendly, positive, affirming, and inclusive.
Brandy Branstetter, a personal wealth advisor and founder of Fresh Financial Planning, says she was impressed when she learned what her daughter, a student at Forest View, was learning because of the program.
“Some of the goal setting techniques that I use to help me become a more effective business leader are the same principles that are being taught to my 5 year old. It’s amazing my kindergartner is learning the importance of this practice at her age.”
Heck says he and his staff worked independently for five years to implement the Leader in Me concept, then applied for and received a grant from the I Am a Leader Foundation in Utah. Forest View is now in the second year of a five-year grant. Heck says the support offered by FranklinCovey has greatly enriched his team’s leadership efforts.
“We have a leadership coach who visits our school to support our efforts with suggestions and ideas and we meet for training twice a year with area schools pursuing the same goals,” he says.
Mona Raglow, a time management consultant, trainer, and creator of The monaplanner© has been a Leader in Me Consultant since 2014. She travels from her area home base to facilitate The Leader in Me in schools across the country.
“When I facilitate the 7 Habits and The Leader in Me process, I love watching and experiencing the engagement of the educators. They truly feel empowered to make positive lasting changes in their school,” she says.