Saturday, April 21, 2012

Visit to "A Leader In Me" School


Imagine a school where students or friends, as they call them:

Say, "yes ma'am" and "no ma'am"
Don't roll their eyes or shrug their shoulders at teachers
Shake hands with other students friends and congratulate them
Are able to speak publicly like congressmen
Are actually self motivated to work hard on homework and schoolwork
Set academic and personal goals and track their own data
Live and embody the 7 habits of highly effective people
Celebrate diversity and welcome all students friends
Learn and practice the top 10 skills employers look for when hiring
Excel in the classroom

Sound too good to be true?

It's not.

This is what I witnessed at the Leadership Day at A.B. Combs Elementary School in Raleigh, North Carolina.  They are the magnet  leadership school that the book A Leader in Me, by Stephen Covey, was based on.  They have integrated the 7 habits of happy kids and highly effective people that Stephen and Sean Covey developed into their school's atmosphere and curriculum.


Our school did a monthly book study of A Leader in Me and we are slowly trying to adopt it.  However, it is going too slow if you ask me.  I understand that teachers have SO MUCH on their plates, and it can be very scary to introduce an entirely new paradigm shift at a school, but in this case I think it will solve so many more problems than it would create.  The 7 habits leadership model teaches students life skills of setting goals and living up to their potential, as well as, collaborative problem solving and getting along with others.  A.B. Combs and other leadership schools are proof that by molding all students into productive and enthusiastic leaders, schools will have less behavior problems and more motivation for learning.  In the long run, I think teachers would be amazed.

If you haven't already, you definitely need to read A Leader in Me and consider bringing this model to your school!


  1. I was immediately drawn to this post, because our school decided to adopt this a few years back and the outcome has been AMAZING! We have won numerous state and national awards, have seen a turn-around in the behavior of our students, and have visitors come to observe our school atleast once a month. Our students BELIEVE in the 7 habits, and they really are becoming "leaders and learners"! We took a team approach and developed a "Synergy Team," in which various teachers decided to pilot the program, and then help to implement it schoolwide. Good Luck!

  2. Thanks so much for your response. I love the idea of getting a core team together and piloting it in a few grade levels. I already have K and 3rd on board for next year! I'd love other ideas and advice if you have time. Will you email me so I can respond with a few questions? Thanks again

  3. Hi Allison,
    I like you became interested in The Leade in Me by reading the book. Last year I started doing 7 Habits lessons during guidance. The teachers and teacher assistants became very excited as they listened to the lessons. In April, a teacher, teacher assistant and myself went the a Leader in Me symposium in Myrtle Beach. We came back with a lot of excitement and ideas to present to our administration and PBIS team. At our last staff meeting, we had a representative from The Leader in Me Program (Chad Smith who is WONDERFUL) come and speak. All staff were invited to the meeting, certified and non-certified. The positive response was overwhelming. As a result, our administration has decided to move forward officially so that we can become a Covey school! Our trainings are scheduled to begin in January and the very important 3 day training will be at the end of the year. I am so excited and want to have that training right now but Chad recommends that you "go slow"! As we wait for the trainings we continue to teach about the 7 Habits, a display is in every area of the school and in each classroom, we are transforming our school with motivational quotes, the students are being given leadership jobs within the school and all are taking part in our "beautification time" each month. I would strongly recommend that you go to a symposium! It will be in Myrtle Beach again this year for our region. I would love to share more with you! I am the School Counselor at Siler City Elementary in North Carolina and am from Southwest Virgina.

  4. Wow that's wonderful your staff got on board so quickly! I think the only thing standing in our way is the huge expense! How can your school afford it?

    1. We of course thought it was too expensive as well when we came back from the symposium. However, our administration and staff were so impressed that we asked for more information. It turns out that you don't need to pay for the program entirely up front but pay over a period of 5 years (I believe). We are a Title 1 school, but I'm not sure where the cost is allocated from in the budget. The Covey representatives told us that funding usually turns out not to be a problem if you get the community involved and other stakeholders involved. Another school in our district has recently decided to become a Covey school as well! It may take awhile but keep doing what you are doing and seek out ways to implement the habits. Our school had decided to do as much as we could on our own but once we met with Chad we wanted to do so much more! So the journey begins.....