Texarkana ISD Elementary Schools host FranklinCovey’s Leader in Me 1st Annual Tiger Synergy Summit

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On February 27, Texarkana ISD Elementary Schools and FranklinCovey Co., hosted the 1st Annual Tiger Synergy Summit at Highland Park Elementary. The summit concentrated on The Leader in Me, FranklinCovey’s process for teaching leadership principles and skills to elementary students enrolled at Theron Jones Early Literacy Center, Westlawn Elementary, Nash Elementary, Wake Village Elementary, Spring Lake Park Elementary, Highland Park Elementary, and Martha and Josh Morriss Mathematics & Engineering Elementary. Mayor Bob Bruggeman was present to officially welcome the students and encourage them to learn the importance of leadership now and to utilize those skills throughout their life for the good of their community.

Jennifer Cross, principal of Highland Park Elementary, said, “We are so proud to be hosting the 1st Annual Tiger Synergy Summit. Our school district has committed to the Leader in Me in order to teach and inspire every child to become a leader.”

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“I am thrilled that Texarkana ISD is involved in the Leader in Me process,” said Sean Covey, President, FranklinCovey Education. “These students will not only learn and apply leadership principles while they are in school, but for the rest of their lives. They will be better prepared to meet the future challenges of our ever-changing world more than ever before. We are so honored to partner with these dedicated educators to help them develop tomorrow’s leaders.”

The Leader in Me is a whole-school transformation model and process—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, helping to improve relationships, transform culture, and highly motivate 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 expanding 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 utilizes and integrates several leadership, social-emotional learning, quality, and educational models and processes from past and current thought leaders including The 4 Imperatives of Great Leaders and The 4 Disciplines of Execution. The process includes student participation in goal setting, data tracking, leadership roles, Student-Led Conferences, leadership environments, and Leadership Events. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People is also a key component of the overall Leader in Me process and is a synthesis of universal, timeless principles of personal, interpersonal, and organizational effectiveness such as responsibility, vision, integrity, teamwork, collaboration, and renewal, which are secular in nature and common to all people and cultures.

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.

The Leader in Me process is implemented as follows:

•School staff identify a new vision of the outcomes they want for their school (e.g., decreasing discipline referrals).
•School staff learn The Leader in Me principles and tools and begin incorporating the leadership principles in their work and relationships (e.g., learning
how to work more cooperatively with each other).
•School staff model the behaviors to their students.
•Teachers are taught how to incorporate the leadership principles and tools into school culture and curricula.
•Key elements of the leadership model are implemented into the school, including:
•Teaching students how to set, track, and achieve goals in a Leadership Notebook.
•Reinventing the physical environment to reinforce the vision and outcomes for the school (banners, signs, murals).
•Holding Student-Led Conferences, which are similar to parent-teacher conferences, yet are different in that the student takes ownership of the
conference.
•Giving each student a leadership role within the school.
•Holding student-led Leadership Events.
•Using a common language of leadership.
•Parents also play an important role in supporting their children in the process.
•School staff, students, and parents utilize a number of resources (lesson plans, videos, student activity guides, Teacher Editions, posters, books, and The
Leader in Me Online) to help them implement and reinforce the process.

Leader in Me schools, which have implemented the process with fidelity, report increases in the following: student self-confidence, teamwork, initiative, responsibility, creativity, self-direction, leadership, problem-solving and communication for children of all ages, socio-economic levels, learning capacities and cultural backgrounds.

Schools also report achievement in the following key outcomes: fewer discipline referrals and suspensions; improved teacher, student, parent satisfaction and engagement; general student behavioral improvement; improved student leadership skills; enhanced school culture; and increased student self-directed learning. Current education literature demonstrates that school climate and culture set a foundation for improved academics as well.

Since its official launch nearly six years ago, nearly 4,000 public, private, charter, and magnet schools across 50 countries have adopted The Leader in Me. Educators continue to offer feedback on best practices, which provides the basis for continuous improvement and refinement of the process. For more information on FranklinCovey Education, visit www.leaderinme.org.

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