Student leadership shines at Terra Linda
Terra Linda Elementary students showed off their leadership skills to about 60 visiting school administrators during Leadership Day on March 20. Parents and local business leaders were also invited.
Terra Linda participates in The Leader in Me, a school-wide program based on “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” by Stephen R. Covey, and was the site of a school visit during FranklinCovey’s Leader in Me Symposium. The Symposium is a two-day conference that includes site visits to schools that are implementing The Leader in Me Program.
For an hour and a half, Terra Linda students took the reins and greeted visitors, emceed, gave speeches, sang songs based on the different The Leader in Me habits, split the guests into groups for breakout sessions, and shared the great things happening at their school.
Students from several grade levels also dispersed throughout the audience to share their Leadership Notebooks, which are notebooks each student has to organize goals and track progress. “They know those notebooks backwards and forwards,” principal Jennifer Ludlow said.
Some teachers gave demonstrations on implementing The Leader in Me in the classroom, but Ludlow explained that for the most part it was a student-led occasion. “It was a day to celebrate student leadership,” she said. “It was an opportunity to show off.”
This is the second year Terra Linda has done The Leader in Me program. “We love it,” Ludlow said. She says the program has made a nice atmosphere in the school, and kids are taking ownership and responsibility for their choices. They are also learning how to set goals in three areas—personal, academic and behavior—and actually track data as they work on those goals.
Ludlow explained that throughout the school year, the administration tries to celebrate students who are using good leadership skills, like kids who successfully resolve a dispute on the playground. Every morning during announcements they will recognize and celebrate those moments.
She also said that through The Leader in Me program, students become very focused on their goals and how to achieve them. This has affected parent-teacher conferences. Rather than teachers telling parents how students are doing, the students themselves participate in the conversation. “The child is telling parents how they are doing, rather than just the teachers,” Ludlow said.
The parental response to program and the student-led conferences has been overwhelmingly positive, and teachers have seen the effects trickle beyond the school.
“The Leader In Me has had a profound impact on students and staff,” said kindergarten teacher Lori McCarty. “Every teacher, employee and student believes they have the capacity to change themselves, their school, and the world around them. It has been exciting to see the positive power of The Leader in Me sweep our school and equally exciting to see this philosophy extend into our community as parents embrace it. The Leader In Me is not only changing our school, but also our families and our community.”