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The Leader in Me

Parents and teachers want to promote responsibility, creativity and tolerance in students who will grow up living and working globally. Business leaders are looking for workers with strong character and problem solving skills to work with diverse teams. Teaching reading, writing and arithmetic is no longer enough. Middle and high schools actively incorporate leadership skills in the school day. However, studies show that starting earlier is more effective.

The Leader in Me prepares students for the needs of the 21st century – some that are yet to emerge. Based on Stephen Covey’s The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, this approach integrates the habits into the school culture. Written for elementary students, it is easy to understand and apply to daily life. Using these principles improves student behavior and confidence. It also raises test scores and increases teacher satisfaction. The program has resulted in high marks from educators, parents, and business leaders nation-wide.

Forward in the Fifth connects schools to trainers of The Leader in Me. Participating schools set time aside for teacher and administrator training. Since The Leader in Me is not a program, but rather a change in thinking and habits, schools should prepare to make at least a three-year commitment. Forward in the Fifth also assists in providing the books and other training materials.

When practicing the habits of The Leader in Me:

  • Everyone speaks the same language
  • Each child develops the skills to become a successful leader
  • A culture change occurs when learning actively involves students in their learning rather than being mostly teacher-directed.
  • When students are saying, “Begin with the end in mind” or “Put first things first” and are thinking “win-win,” a transformation begins. Students can resolve their own conflicts. They find more ways to help each other. They are not afraid to lead others. Relationships become a big part of the change for students and teachers.

Pilot schools for 2011-2012 were:

  • Gamaliel Elementary (Monroe County)
  • McBrayer Elementary (Rowan County)
  • Pineville Elementary (Bell County)

Since the pilot year, each elementary has embraced The Leader in Me and successfully incorporated it into multiple areas within the school. By rethinking existing content, structures, and processes, each site has become student-centered with an improved culture for all.  Additional funding has been sought and secured in these districts to further expand the initiative and bring new schools into the fold. Sustainability is certain.

For more information about implementing The Leader in Me in our service area, contact Forward in the Fifth.

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