Cherry Creek’s new mission statement this year is: “We Lead. We Learn. We inspire. I am Important.”
As the 2014-2015 school year began, there was something different about Cherry Creek Elementary. When people entered the building, they could see a physical difference in the hallways as well as a change in the atmosphere of the school. It was the beginning of a new adventure for the Crocs, their first year as a Leader in Me school.
With all of the craziness of a new school year, the faculty and staff had worked hard to be ready for implementing this new program. Faculty and staff attended trainings in the summer to learn about Sean Covey’s “7 Habits of Highly Effective People”. These trainings focused on exposing the staff to what the habits are as well as how to really live the habits as individuals. To be able to teach and use these habits in education, these educators had to first learn how to apply each habit into their personal lives. Faculty also had an “Implementation Day” where they were taught how to incorporate the Leader in Me into their instruction. A “Lighthouse Team” was also formed to discuss how this program would look at Cherry Creek.
As the school year progressed, teachers started changing things in their classrooms and implementing ways to expose students to the 7 Habits, as well as the idea of leadership. As people walk through the hallways, they will see banners of the 7 Habits. In the classrooms, there are the 7 Habits Tree and posters relating to it. In the morning, many classrooms have teacher and student greeters who stand in the doorway to greet anyone who comes into their room. There are school-wide leadership positions such as “Attendance Leaders”, who write the daily attendance percentages for each class on a board that is outside of each room. Many classes have displays of how they live the 7 Habits or how each of the students are leaders in their own way.
Even more than the physical change of Cherry Creek, is the huge transformation of the students. One can listen in on conversations and hear students using words and phrases such as, “Be Proactive” or “Synergize”. Students began thinking of things in a different way and problem-solving on their own. Using the Leader in Me program, students set their own academic and personal goals and then “Begin with the End in Mind” to make a plan on how they are going to achieve them. Many students began to take responsibility for their actions and try to always create a “Win-Win” situation.
There is also a “Student Lighthouse Team” that meets monthly where one representative from each class comes to discuss their ideas, and ideas from their class, about how to improve the school. Most importantly, with the help and encouragement of their teachers, students began to realize that each is a leader. The atmosphere became increasingly more positive and happier as students began to realize their own individual importance.
Cherry Creek has only dipped its toes into the waters of the Leader in Me program and it has already made the biggest difference. Faculty and staff continue to find ways to include the 7 Habits into their daily instruction and into the lives of these children. Within the next few years, more qualities of the Leader in Me program will be implemented- such as Data Notebooks, Student-Led Conferences, and an increasing number of leadership positions at the school. Cherry Creek feels incredibly grateful for this amazing program that continues to change the lives of faculty and students every day.