Thoughts, conversation, and questions about 'The Leader in Me' by Stephen Covey


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In many articles I've read, including 'The Leader In Me' and the A.B. Combs school, parent involvement is a crucial part of successful programs. Here's the age old question, why aren't the parents of Somers Point children involved in their education? I have a very difficult time understanding this. What are these schools doing that we're not?
I am not sure but I do think they have to feel welcomed. The preschool had a preschool reading night with an excellent turn out. I think it was the welcoming, non threatening environment created by the teachers that got such wonderful results. We also have to remember that everyone is busy so the parents do not want to come in and waste their precious time. They have to come in and feel it was a meaningful experience.
I think that for those people who are familiar with Covey, would agree that this book makes sense. Positive thinking is the power of much more. Sometimes all it takes is having a positive attitude to begin "change".. Change is a constant in life, but it is how we make changes that is the challenge for many. Educator's over the years have tendendcy to get situated in thier routines. However, education is synonymous with change. Habit 2 : Begin with the end in mind is exactly what Wiggens and McTighe meant when they wrote Understanding By Design. Kathy- I agree I am not sure what difference the banners make to the kids, but I sure LOVE reading the inspirational quotes that hang in the bathroom! They are thought provoking and MAYBE, Just MAYBE those banners hit a note with a certain population! LOL
I'm glad that you like the quotes in the bathroom! I like reading the daily quotes in the newspaper. Several of Ben's teachers at Holy Spirit have daily quotes written on their chalkboards, and give extra credit for written reflections on them. Not having read the book(s) you're discussing, forgive me if my remarks are unrelated to the discussion. The main issue against banners is that they tend to become part of the scenery. But if banners are coupled with meaningful activities, then their content becomes part of school culture.
I believe, that if nothing else, our school should begin training in the 7 habits of highly effective people as was discussed at the meeting. Even though our staff is already comprised of highly effective people, this training would get us all on the same page, using the same lingo. This year I have a challenging group in the sense that I must spend a lot of time teaching/empowering my students in how to solve conflicts and build a cohesive bunch who supports and cares about each other. Using the 7 habits in our school would create consistency through the grades, beginning in pre-k. Most of us already incorporate many of these ideas, taught/modeled by our own families as we were being raised. I feel that a large percentage of our Somers Point families would like to raise their children with these moral and ethics and would welcome the seven habits into their homes. Finally, I would like to recommend a book that many of you may be familiar with called "Have You Filled a Bucket Today?" by Carol McCloud. It is a short, simple, "to the point" book whose theme we are using to promote a caring first grade community. I agree with Renee about loving the quote "Do the right thing even when no one is looking" but would like to add "because it will help to fill your bucket!"
Julie Goodwin is doing that program at Dawes as well. The lesson was wonderful and I feel like my students got a lot out of it. They all want to be bucket fillers.
I enjoyed reading The Leader in Me. I believe that if we as teachers, administrators, all school employees show respect for eachother and responsibility, honest, loyality,etc. the students will follow. We need to be role models. As Renee said we need to practice what we preach always. I don't feel that character ed should be a seperate subject with a new word each month. Being of good character needs to become a habit, away of life. Something we do without even thinking about it.
I have started naming the students in my class as leaders if they are showing leadership qualities. The chosen are leaders in the hallway. They make sure that the other students are following our hallway rules. We have a leader board with the names of our leaders. The students love the responsibility and we have received a lot of compliments from other teachers in the hall. They are starting to follow the rules even if I am not looking right at them because they want to be choosen as the next leader. I am going to continue to make leadership jobs in the classroom and the students will need to earn the jobs by showing me, they are of good character. I also really like the idea of painting the positive quotes in the hallways. Let's make our school a colorful, enjoyable, safe place to learn.
I think that is a great way to embrace this concept. I use the word leadership when I talk to my safety patrol students - they must learn that it doesn';t mean I have power over someone - it means I am there to help and guide others:)
I feel that so many of our children are being taught (whether it is consciously or unconsciously by the parents) to beat the system. Many of our students come to school with the attitude 'well, what's in it for me?' or "what do I get if I do the right thing?' It's time we swerved toward the attitude that it's not always about a physical reward (ok,I get it i.e. the old adage I wouldn't come to work if I didn't get a paycheck). Leadership to me is starting with a person from the inside out. Take care of yourself, learn, be a leader, teach others. After reading about A.B. Combs and checking out their website, I think they started from the inside out...not just with the students, but with the staff and community as well. Their leadership ideals were not going to go away after the first year if the program did not work. They hammered away until everyone was on board, really on board, not just with words but with actions.
In your opinion, what would be the best way to implement this in Somers Point?
We need to share the 7 habits with the entire staff - maybe in Feb. during our in-service day - then I think committees for each habit could be formed to come up with district ideas on how to implement.

I would like to talk to the Dawes staff during our next faculty meeting - Nov. 23rd about including students in the conferences - Those who are ready could encourage parents to bring the child and then they could report back to the staff so that we can all try it next year.
I like the idea of forming a committee with district ideas on how to implement this program. As I've said before I think we should incorporate it with already existing programs such as Rock Solid, Character Ed, etc so we are just not adding "another thing".



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