There’s a leader in me

Published 12:03 am Wednesday, February 8, 2017

A.C. Moore Elementary students recite the seven habits in the Leader in Me process. | Andrew Garner/Atmore Advance

A.C. Moore Elementary students recite the seven habits in the Leader in Me process. | Andrew Garner/Atmore Advance

A.C. Moore using program to build student leaders

“Good morning. Welcome to A.C. Moore Elementary School.”

That’s the sort of greeting guests will receive from students at the Atmore school after implementing the Leader in Me process.

The LIM process is FranklinCovey’s whole school transformation process that teaches 21st century leadership and life skills to students and creates a culture of student empowerment based on the idea that every child can be a leader, according to LIM’s website.

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At present, A.C. Moore is right in the middle of its first year. The process runs for three years.

“I had heard about the Leader in Me just from other schools that were becoming (LIM) schools,” A.C. Moore Principal John Brantley said. “I did a lot of research to find out what a Leader in Me school is and what it’s about.

“In my research, I found it to be very expensive,” he said. “In my first year (as principal), I did a lot of research. In my second and third year, I really tried to implement it, but funding was a big issue.”

The first year alone costs between $43,000-$45,000.

Brantley said he’s reached out to the state department of education and others for funding.

Brantley said with ACM being a Title 1 institution, the school has to have a Continuous Improvement Plan and a local indicator.

“Our local indicator is Leader in Me, and we’re focusing on decreasing our discipline referrals,” he said. “We’re keeping up with that each month, comparing last year to this year.”

Brantley said the school is finding that its discipline referrals are decreasing slowly.

The first year of LIM is geared toward training teachers and educators on learning the seven habits of the process. The seven habits are be proactive, begin with the end in mind, put first things first, think win-win, seek first to understand and then to be understood, synergize and sharpen the saw.

“Year one is for the teachers and is introductory for the students,” Brantley said. “We start using the seven habits for vocabulary.”

Brantley said the habits are also used by teachers in lessongs, and while reading stories, for example.

“My main push with the kids this year, also with the teachers, is habit one, to be proactive,” he said. “I’m in charge of me. If I have to have a conversation with students, we always start with that statement. Who is in charge of you?”

Brantley said year two also includes training for teachers to help implement the process schoolwide.

“Next year is going to be a big year,” he said. “We’ve already started doing year-two stuff. Through my research, I visited schools and saw the things they do.”

Brantley said already A.C. Moore is doing student-led conferences instead of teacher-led conferences.

“Students have assessment binders,” he said. “During the spring and fall conferences, the parents come with the student. The teacher is only there as a facilitator.”

Year three includes pushing LIM out in the community and to businesses, as well as to the students’ homes.

Brantley said he’s quite excited to have the program at the school, and hopes more schools in the county will utilize LIM.

“We’re the only school in Escambia County that has implemented the Leader in Me,” he said. “I’m sure other schools would get on board, but it’s just the cost factor.”