The Alamance-Burlington School System is jumpstarting another specialized program thanks to a generous donation from the United Way of Alamance County’s Women United chapter.
Haw River Elementary School has received $60,000 from an anonymous member of the group to fund a schoolwide Leader in Me program.
Last summer, the United Way started a chapter of Women United and began meeting and exploring opportunities for long-term impact. The group fell in love with Leader in Me after visiting Andrews Elementary School, which implemented the program in 2016 along with Newlin Elementary School.
The specialized program is based on Stephen Covey’s “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” and focuses on the idea that every student can be a leader through:
- Teaching students how to set, track and achieve their goals in a leadership notebook;
- Reinventing the physical environment to reinforce the vision and outcomes for the school (e.g., banners, signs, murals);
- Holding student-led conferences, which are similar to parent-teacher conferences, but with the students taking ownership for their learning, and leading these conferences;
- Giving each student a leadership role within the school;
- Holding student-led leadership events; and
- Using a common language of leadership.
This is reinforced through graphics, music, events and other activities.
Andrews and Newlin have molded guidelines to their specific communities. For example, Newlin holds a morning meeting of the entire school coordinated and led by a fourth-grade student each day.
Schools that implement Leader in Me report positives, like fewer discipline referrals and suspensions, improved student, teacher and parent engagement, improved student leadership skills and a stronger sense of community.
In addition to the $60,000 gift, $5,000 will support the program at Andrews Elementary School.
The three-year implementation for Haw River will begin July 1.
Haw River also is in its first year of the N.C. Department of Public Instruction Restart model, for which it has implemented standard modes of dress, increased parent involvement and held Tuesday afternoon club meetings.