Richland Elementary School is celebrating five years of incorporating the Leader in Me process into its curriculum with a community Leadership Day on Thursday and a Family Leadership Breakfast on Friday.
“This gives us an opportunity to showcase all of the great work done by our students and staff,” Principal Nicole Zuerblis said. “We’re excited to show our guests what we’ve been up to and share our success in Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports and academics.”
Leader in Me is based on the work of Stephen Covey’s “7 Habits of Highly Effective People.” In the elementary version, Richland teaches 21st-century leadership and life skills to students, and creates a culture of student empowerment based on the idea that every child can be a leader. Students learn about responsibility, creativity, ownership of learning, goal setting, self-awareness, initiative, communication, integrity, and teamwork.
“Leader in Me brings out greatness in all kids,” said Debbie Schmolk, Richland’s school counselor. “It teaches skills that are used in real life. It’s infused in their lessons and in what we do each day.”
The 7 Habits are:
- Be Proactive — I am in charge of me.
- Begin with the end in mind — Have a plan.
- Put first things first — Work first, then play.
- Think win-win — Everyone can win.
- Seek first to understand, then be understood — Listen before you speak.
- Synergize — Together is better.
- Sharpen the saw — Balance is best.
On Thursday, following arrival and greetings in the multipurpose room, everyone watched school announcements before groups of visitors, which included educators from schools across the state, were led by student tour guides to different classrooms. That was followed by a question-and-answer session with students and staff.
One panelist was Strayer eighth-grader Wilson Martinez, a Richland graduate. His sister Andrea is a fifth-grader. “There was a time I had no idea what Leader in Me was,” he said. “Now I use Leader in Me at home with my sister and in school. It’s a big part of my life. Some people might say it’s about being kind. But it’s so much deeper than that. It’s about working together and finding great ways to go forward. Always plan ahead.”
Kindergarten teacher Rebecca Pallone said “This is a time for our students to shine. I showed them the calendar and told them this is the 164th day of the school year. Look at how far they’ve come.”