Bell Elementary is helping their students prepare for life ahead of them by bringing out the leader within them. Through the Leader in Me program, students develop habits that will help them be successful in school and beyond.
Those seven habits are:
- Be Proactive: Be in charge of you.
- Begin with the End in Mind: Know what you want before you do it.
- Put First Things First: Do the important things first.
- Think Win-Win: Find ways where everyone wins.
- Understand to be Understood: Listen before you speak.
- Synergize: Together is better.
- Sharpen the Saw: Learn new ways to be a better person.
With Leader in Me, students learn how to set goals and work to achieve them. Each student from pre-K to 6th grade starts the year by setting a mission and creating a list their goals for the year. Then, they keep track of how they are progressing in a binder as they learn and grow. The teachers also work the habits into their curriculum to reinforce the ideas, and the school’s classrooms and hallways are decorated with encouragement and achievements.
"It’s not one thing. It’s an umbrella that encompasses everything we do all day long,” said pre-K teacher Polly Pitezel, one of the program coordinators.
Students aren’t the only ones going through the program. Teachers follow the habits as well.
“Our teachers are on the same plan because we have to know the skills. We have to know the habits, and we have to use them to be able to teach them. We all have our own mission statement and goals,” said Polly.
Parents also got the opportunity to learn about the program, both how they can help their kids follow it at home and how they can do it themselves.
Polly said Leader in Me has given students purpose.
“It helps them understand who they are and what they want to be and what they have to do to get there,” said Polly. “They understand. They own in. ‘It’s about me. It’s my goal. It’s my mission. Am I listening? Am I doing the right thing?’ They take ownership for their own behavior, their own academics.”
Each month, every teacher at Bell selects a student from their class that has demonstrated excellent leadership traits. Those students are celebrated at the Rise and Shine assembly.
Now that students are finding their inner leaders, they are seeking out more leadership opportunities. The Safety Patrol/Student Ambassador program has dramatically increased since Leader in Me was implemented.
“I really like helping people, and I just like the community,” said Silvia, a 5th grade Safety Patrol member.
Bell is all in for Leader in Me and the positive influence it can have on students. It gives them the chance to develop the skills they need to thrive, including critical thinking, self-discipline, communication, relationship building, public speaking, time management, and self-directed learning.
“This is not one more thing to do; this is what we do,” said Polly.
For more information about the Leader in Me program, click here.