Valley R-6 Elementary staff announced the school has been named as a Leader in Me Lighthouse School by Franklin Covey Co.

They are the first truly rural school in Missouri to achieve this status. This recognition comes because the school has achieved outstanding results in school and student outcomes, by implementing "The Leader in Me" process with fidelity. It is also because of the extraordinary impact the school is having on staff, students, parents, and the greater community.

Sean Covey, Education Practice leader at Franklin Covey, said, “We are thrilled to recognize Valley R-6 Elementary as a Leader in Me Lighthouse School. Schools who achieve the Lighthouse Milestone are great examples of a strong leadership model, process, and of what it means to be a Leader in Me school. This school has experienced transformational results by implementing the principles and practices related to The Leader in Me. We are so pleased to celebrate the success they are experiencing.”

Jennifer Woods, principal of Valley R-6 Elementary said they are honored to become a Leader in Me Lighthouse School.

"We have seen such amazing results from implementing 'The Leader in Me' process at our school, such as an increase in academic awareness and progress by students, a decrease in discipline referrals, an increase in parent involvement, including implementation of a parent volunteer program, and an increase in student confidence and student initiative. There are several examples of this, but one example that really stands out is a student who was exceptionally shy and introverted. She is tender-hearted as well. In this child’s class last year, the teacher allowed the students to choose what they feel most comfortable doing during Leadership Days, Parent Nights, and Leadership Assemblies. Throughout the year this student gravitated towards roles that the teacher knew she would be comfortable with, such as, greeting a visitor with a handshake to the classroom or being a silent background character in a play.

For last year’s Parent Night when the teacher went over the list of students who planned to be there, she discovered there wasn’t going to be enough students to present a lesson on Proactive vs. Reactive.

There would be several sessions and it would be a long night for 7-year-olds to be speaking and presenting. This student was one that the teacher had to pick from. They had a little class time to prepare but it wasn’t working for the students as they were uncomfortable and unsure.

During the first session that night this student volunteered to speak to a group. She spoke clearly and with confidence which was huge for this little girl as this would have never been expected from her. She ended up presenting three more times that night.

Each time she presented she made eye contact with the adults, asked them questions about what they learned, and even gave the adults insightful responses to their questions."

The principal said for Leadership Day last year, this same child surprised everyone again by volunteering to do a presentation on Bucket Filling.

"Again, she spoke with confidence and displayed knowledge about the topic. She came up with questions to ask the adults who attended the sessions. In just one school year, this child has made more strides than most adults do in their lives when it comes to public speaking. This child can still be quiet around people and can be stand-offish at times, but she’s found herself to be a leader in public speaking. Maybe it’ll be a skill that she will work on for the rest of her time in elementary school. There’s not a doubt that a Leader in Me school is the only place that she would have discovered and been given the opportunity to develop this skill and confidence. This example was provided by Leah Snow who was Daisy Kearns’ 2nd grade teacher last year.

"The Leader in Me process not only has had a significant impact on this student, but on all students. And, we expect to see greater results over time.”

The Leader in Me is a whole-school transformation model developed in partnership with educators that empowers students with the leadership and life skills they need to thrive in the 21st century.

It is based on secular principles and practices of personal, interpersonal, and organizational effectiveness. Distinct in several ways, The Leader in Me:

• Starts from a powerful premise that every child possesses unique strengths and has the ability to be a leader. This premise shapes the views of staff to value and develop the whole child.

• Integrates leadership development into existing school programs, curricula, and traditions. More than a program, The Leader in Me serves as a foundational operating system for the school, improving relationships, transforming culture, and highly motivating staff members and students.

• Helps students learn how to become self-reliant, take initiative, plan ahead, set and track goals, do their homework, prioritize their time, manage their emotions, be considerate of others, express their viewpoint persuasively, resolve conflicts, find creative solutions, value differences, and live a balanced life. In short, The Leader in Me helps students develop the skills and self-confidence they need to lead their lives and succeed in school and beyond.

• Impacts all stakeholders starting first with the staff of a school, then moving out to students, their families, and the community at large. This inside-out approach is a key ingredient to successfully creating positive change in a school.

The Leader in Me differs from other whole-school transformation processes in that it offers a holistic, schoolwide experience for staff, students, and parents, and creates a common language and culture within the school. The leadership principles and lessons are not taught as a curriculum, but instead are incorporated into coursework, traditions, systems, and culture.

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