Vincent Elementary School has joined an elite group of the most innovative schools in the nation. Principal Beverly Miller was joined by special guest Jane Knight, from Franklin Covey, to announce the school’s recently named status as a Leader in Me Lighthouse School at a special Leadership Day event held October 8. Vincent Elementary is the first school in Shelby County and one of only 58 schools (out of 1,500 Leader in Me schools worldwide) to earn this distinguished title. It is the highest honor a school participating in the Leader in Me program can receive.
According to Vincent Elementary School teacher, Amanda Campbell, the “Leader in Me” program is based on Stephen Covey’s book “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People”. The program is designed to produce transformational results in students by helping to instill leadership skills and self-confidence at a very early age.
Campbell said the process of implementing the program began about five years ago. It was a journey that teachers hoped would revolutionize the lives of not only their students, many of whom come from challenging socioeconomic backgrounds, but that of their families as well.
“Our teachers did a voluntary book study on Stephen Covey’s ‘The Leader in Me’,” said teacher Amy Martin. “We were so moved that we decided that no matter what it took, we were going to change everything that we did, everything that we said, and everything that we taught so we would convince our students that we believed that they were leaders.”
The school faculty decided that in order to produce students who were ready for the 21st Century, they needed to explicitly teach “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” every single day and model the habits in their own actions. As a result, every aspect of the school’s culture and environment was touched.
“Our language has changed. Our behaviors have changed. Most importantly, our children have changed,” said Martin. “No longer do they feel as if they are destined to repeat familial cycles. They now realize the sky is the limit. There is no dream, no aspiration out of reach, because they are LEADERS. Every single child in our building knows the habits and lives the habits. We honestly feel as if we have reset the course of the future of our children, and we honestly could not be any more proud.”
The school hosted the “Where Leaders are Made” Open House and Leadership Assembly on October 8 from 8:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Guests toured the school, visited classrooms, and heard student-led explanations of what it means to be a “Leader in Me” school. A program was held at 1:00 p.m., which featured musical performances and students and teachers sharing about the 7 Habits promoted through the Leader in Me program. The day ended with a banner presentation and a video featuring Sean Covey, son of Stephen Covey, announcing the Lighthouse School distinction.