Making leaders

Evart Elementary begins The Leader In Me Schools program

EVART — There were hearty hugs, goodbye kisses and a few tears shed on the first day back at Evart Public Schools.

Middle and high school students were busy reconnecting with friends and tracking down their classes.

Students at Evart Elementary began their first day on Thursday, Aug. 25, with “We Will Rock You” echoing down the hallways and teachers giving each of them a rock.

A rock?

“The rock is all part of The Leader in Me Schools program,” said principal Sarah Bailey. “The program is a proactive approach by implementing Stephen Covery’s ‘The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People’ in a school setting.”

She said teachers and staff will try to instill these habits in students throughout the year:

  • Be proactive;
  • Begin with the end in mind;
  • Put first things first;
  • Think win-win;
  • Seek first to understand, then to be understood;
  • Synergize; and
  • Sharpen the saw.

The approach by teachers and staff, Bailey said, will be much different than in past years.

“We are looking to help students apply and bridge those situations not only in the school situation, but in the community as well, to reach their full potential,” she said.

Bailey explained the leadership team met throughout last school year to explore the program.

“We did a book study and visited an elementary in Big Rapids,” she said. “We really felt it was the right thing for Evart Elementary.”

Bailey said staff members at the school completed three days of professional development ahead of Thursday and Friday’s half-days, and hope the new program sets the tone for the entire year.

“We’re pretty excited about it,” she said. “We’re providing them with all the tools to become effective leaders.

“This goes beyond the school. We’re hoping we can engage the whole community in the process. We are planning parent initiatives and programs, and want to touch the entire community with the seven habits.”

Meanwhile, Bailey said the first day of school is always exciting for staff members, students and parents.

“The big thing is for teachers to help the students feel comfortable, welcome and ready for the year ahead,” she said.

The other schools in the Mecosta-Osceola Intermediate School District begin classes on Monday, Aug. 29.