Lawler hosts educators, community for Leadership Day


December 17, 2013

Lion Pride was clearly on display as Lawler Elementary welcomed visitors to the school’s first Leadership Day.

From the parking lot through every hall, students were dressed in the best and eager to showcase daily routines, as they proudly greeted their guests for a day in the life of Lawler. The event provided educators, business leaders and elected officials an opportunity to see the impact of the school’s “The Leader in Me” program in action.

Based on Steven Covey’s “7 Habits of Highly Effective People,” the program is in its second full year at Lawler. During that brief time, teachers, parents and students alike have seen fundamental changes through the implementation of the “7 Habits of Happy Kids.”

Starting with the “Lion Pride” assembly that kicks off each morning through presentations and school tours, the entire event was student-led, allowing preschoolers through fifth graders to interact with their guests.

Students shared their involvement on the school’s leadership teams through displays and one-on-one. Applications and interviews are part of the process for landing positions on the teams which range from safety patrol to patriotic to energy conservation. This process gives students an early taste of job applications and interviews, as well as an opportunity to contribute in an area they really care about.

Firm handshakes and good eye contact were just a couple of things that impressed banker and parent Steven Smith, whose oldest child attends the school. He noted that many students “looked at my name tag and called me by name. That was a nice touch, as well.”

Other parents pointed out that their children live the “7 Habits” at home, too, seeking “win-win” outcomes with siblings or “putting first things first” by doing homework before play.

Site-based member Keith Brooks commented on the sense of discipline instilled and how that carries into other activities even outside school, such as sports.

Brandi Lee, who also spoke to visitors during the event, noted that every child has a job to do and they don’t want to let down their teachers or their team.

Lawler teachers and staff have enthusiastically supported the “7 Habits” from the beginning, integrating each one into the curriculum, traditions, systems, and culture of the school. The result has been evident in attendance, academic performance and reduced discipline issues. Self-confidence, initiative, communication and teamwork are on the rise, as students learn how to take on more leadership roles and understand the importance of goal-setting. In fact, each student keeps a leadership notebook with goals and accomplishments.

Educators came away from the day with lots of ideas about incorporating the “7 Habits” into their own schools. Business people saw connections between the character and life skills taught through The Leader in Me and the type of workforce those principles can help develop.

Based on the success of this first effort, the school plans to host Leadership Day again next year.