West Jeff students find the leader in themselves and others


(Posted Aug. 9, 2022)

By Linda Dillman, Staff Writer

Students throughout Norwood Elementary are looking for and finding the leader in themselves and others as part of a year-long program.

Principal Sue Barte told school board members during an Aug. 8 meeting that members of her Leader In Me team worked throughout the summer on the 2022-23 version of the leadership building endeavor.

“Norwood is proud to be a Leader In Me school,” said teacher Thomas Ruane.

“Leader In Me is an evidence-based PK-12 model developed in partnership with educators to build resiliency and leadership in students to create a high trust culture and help improve academic performance.”

The program is modeled on Seven Habits as described by best-selling author Stephen Covey: be proactive; begin with the end in mind; put first things first; think win-win; seek first to understand, then to be understood; synergize (value the ideas of others and work well in teams); and sharpen the saw (take care of yourself and help others).

Students are recognized throughout the school year and honored for “being caught” as a leader.

Instructor Jessica Thompson said her action team conducted a trio of events for students, reinforcing the concepts of the leadership program. The first was a cookie kit where the whole family created edible masterpieces together.

Another project was participation in West Jefferson’s Christmas Parade via a decorated school bus. For the summer break, a plastic take-home bucket was filled with items encouraging students to practice the seven habits while away from school.

“We hope to have a haunted health care event in October,” Thompson said.

Ruane said the staff also incorporates the habits into the Norwood News broadcast internally throughout the school. Older students also work together with their younger peers on projects.

School board President Meg Hiss commended the teachers and the program for conducting activities that build a community within the school. Superintendent William Mullett said what he really likes about Leader In Me is that attention is focused on the whole child.

“The Leader In Me program has students build important habits into their daily routines and into their way of thinking and responding,” stated Ruane.

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