Students Transform School into “Leaderville”
Curriculum Modeled After Self-Help Book
The school’s culture is based on business self-help book “7 Habits of Highly Effective People,” by Stephen Covey. The book, published in 1990, has sold more than 20 million copies and spawned a series of spin-off books. Six years ago, Oriole Park began implementing “The Leader in Me,” a whole-school transformation model that aims to improve the performance of all other programs. Students develop self-confidence and skills that carry beyond elementary school, said Principal Jennifer Slanger. “‘The Leader In Me’ has positively impacted all aspects of the school community,” Slanger said. “Our students follow common expectations in the hallway, lunch room and the playground. They use the language of the seven habits each and every day.”
The skills are also tied to students’ goals they set while thinking about using the traits, Slanger said. Students will revise their goals as they achieve them. Keeping a data notebook allows them to take ownership of their learning. Third-grader Abby Kramer said she sets goals around her reading and thinks about leadership when doing her work. “I am proactive and have a plan,” Abby said. “I put first things first and I always do a really good job on everything.” Teachers set the example, Slanger said. “Our students definitely learn a lot by the modeling from our staff, but also within their classroom. Our teachers do an amazing job teaching students how to set academic goals and behavioral goals throughout the course of the year.” Third-grade teacher Ginger VanderBeek said helping students develop skills like planning and being proactive helps them stick with a project, complete it by a deadline and learn to present it. “They realize that what they are doing and the skills they use in the seven habits can help them finish and do a good job, so they can take ownership of what they are doing,” she said.
Seven Habits of Leadership Be Proactive: Be responsible and take initiative Begin with the End in Mind: plan ahead and set goals Put First Things First: Set priorities, make a schedule, and follow a plan Think Win-Win: Balance courage for getting what you want with consideration for what others want Think First to Understand, Then to Be Understood: Listen to other people’s ideas and feelings, try to see things from their viewpoints Synergize: Value other people’s strengths and learn from them, get along well with others, work well in groups. Seek out other people’s ideas to solve problems Sharpen the Saw: Know the importance of caring for your body by eating right, exercising and getting sleep, spending time with family and friends and helping others Source: www.leaderinme.org