IHS to help develop leadership certificate program

Published 2:00 pm Friday, August 3, 2018

By JOYANNA LOVE/ Senior Staff Writer

Isabella High School is officially a Leader in Me School through Franklin Covey Education this school year.

The Leader in Me program is based on the book “The Leader in Me” by Stephen R. Covey, Sean Covey, Muriel Summer and David K. Hatch, which focuses on seven habits of healthy kids.

“We’re really excited. We are going to be the first pre-K through 12th grade in the world to begin this journey as a unit school all the way through,” IHS Assistant Principal Sue Ellen Gilliland said.

IHS will be a partner in providing feedback for a new high school curriculum designed to be pitched to the state as a leadership credential.

“When students leave high school, they can leave, potentially, with a Franklin Covey leadership credential certification that could be recognized with business and industry as well as colleges and universities for honors programs to show the skill set that they will be leaving school with,” Gilliland said.

Franklin Covey Education provides grade-specific curriculum and a number of online resources to Leader in Me schools. Resources are also available for Family Night activities at the school.

In preparation for the 2018-2019 school year, IHS teachers and staff attended a two-day training with Conley Skeen of Franklin Covey Education. Skeen talked about the importance of changing paradigms in order to make an impact toward changing habits. He said teachers need to be focused on helping students be better than they were yesterday, not comparing them to others and show unconditional love even to the most challenging student.

Fourth-grade teacher Helen Frost said she had been excited for the opportunity to train with someone who had worked with other schools implementing the program.

“He (Skeen) knows what works, what doesn’t work,” Frost said.

She said several of the videos shown during the training were helpful in seeing how some of the habits have been adopted other places.

Frost plans to create more opportunities for her students to be involved in leadership roles in the classroom and take ownership of their learning.

This will be the first year IHS high school teachers are working with their students on developing the seven habits.

“I think implementing any of the seven habits will help us personally with organization and being prepared and that is part of meeting the expectations that hit us every day,” IHS English teacher Nelda LeCroy said.

Support staff, including cafeteria workers and the bookkeeper, attended the training to be able to reinforce and demonstrate the seven habits in their interaction with students.

Bookkeeper Rhonda Littleton said the training helped her know ways to “motivate the student, to uplift the student” when she interacts with them.

Littleton said the training has also helped her see ways to help her children develop the seven habits and help other students.

Elementary grades had begun implementing the leadership program last school year.

Frost said the program has helped students “be more aware of their own learning” and responsible for their learning.

“They should be in charge of their own learning and an active participant, just don’t leave it up to your parents and your teachers to keep you engaged,” Frost said.

Second-grade teacher Kathy Williams said she is looking forward to “implementing these habits a little more in-depth” this school year.

“Hopefully, let them see that this is a partnership in the classroom that we have to work together, and how they view school and this experience is going to help them to succeed,” Williams said. “I’m really happy that our school is doing this.”