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The Leader in Me - How Our Students Become Great Leaders

The “Leader in Me” program, powered by Franklin-Covey, is a dynamic program devoted to character development. Incorporating the proven principle-based 7 Habits, this program helps students develop positive character traits and to act as leaders in their school, homes, and communities. Students learn to apply the 7 Habits in their everyday lives, and are able to see their own powerful potential as they do so. Arches Academy utilizes this superior program to provide clear and easy-to-use tools that help shape our student’s habits and attitudes on a personal level, and their abilities to interact and work successfully on a social level.

Students have many opportunities to utilize this leadership training daily. They take initiative in planning group projects, class activities, fundraising for various causes, and more. They see a need for a cool club and create it, or recognize the value of team sports and jump in to participate, and invite others to do the same. They make proactive choices to clean up an area that needs attention, to help a fellow student out of a difficult situation, to take action when they see it is needed. Our student leaders recognize those everyday moments when they can step up and be an example and that being a leader doesn’t just mean being a president or CEO. These ideas promote an incredibly positive environment at our school as they seek to create “win win” solutions, understand each other, and promote synergy.

“As we teach these principles, we are creating a generation of leaders, one child at a time.” - Dr. Stephen R. Covey, Arches Grandparent

Student Government is an excellent opportunity for students to further develop their leadership skills. Students run for office, and once elected, really put the 7 Habits to work. They “Begin With the End in Mind” by creating a vision for the school and what kind of impact they want to have as leaders. That vision guides them as they “Synergize” to create fun and unique experiences for the student body. Officers learn organization and delegation skills as they plan parties, service projects, school assemblies, and more. Students plan, organize, and execute all activities on their own, with their teacher as coach and facilitator. These activities strengthen their leadership skills, deepen their relationships, and build lasting friendships in school and throughout the world. In 2013 the Student Government organized a “smile-raiser” to support Operation Smile. In 2014, students planned a “penny war” which raised over $1,000 for local families in need at Christmas time. Last year they were involved in gathering items to help refugees. Our Student Government members become aware of local and global needs and take initiative to be part of the solution. They certainly gain skills and self-confidence to succeed as leaders.

As student mentors, students learn from one another as they are connected with each other for various activities. “Reading Buddies” creates the opportunity for older students to be mentors; to have the experience of setting good examples and caring for others. Younger students have someone they can trust and look up to and high-five in the hallway. “Study-buddies” are peers who support each other to succeed in their classes. They understand that each individual has strengths and weaknesses; that sometimes we lead, and sometimes we follow and learn. All students are encouraged to reach out to those they don’t know well, to include rather than exclude, and to cheer each other on as classmates try new things and stretch to meet their goals. All of our students have daily opportunities to mentor another.

These positive leadership habits are reinforced daily by teachers and by fellow students. Each week students vote a new student as “Leader of the Week,” someone who they have seen exemplify leadership qualities. This student is acknowledged and celebrated at the weekly “Leader in Me” assembly. When teachers notice positive behavior and leadership skills in action, they submit names for the weekly “Victory Lap.” The positive feedback from the teachers is read aloud, and each nominated student runs a “victory lap,” high-fiving and being cheered on by their teachers and peers. All students are taught leadership through the 7 Habits, and get a chance to be celebrated in this way.

In a recent survey of our parents, we asked what changes they have seen in their children since starting at Arches Academy. Many parents reported different aspects of their child’s improvement that are attributable to The Leader in Me program:

  • increased self confidence was the number one response we received

  • being proactive and self motivated in doing their homework

  • increased leadership skills and opportunities in their class/school

  • better self-discipline

  • more patient

  • shared 7-Habits vocabulary between home and school gets child to respond to parent requests

  • attitude improvement

This leadership training and behavioral benefits are possible for all of our Arches Academy students.