We are thankful for the opportunity to work with 23 schools in the Cedar Valley region. This month’s school feature is Lowell elementary school which is a part of the Waterloo School District. Each month, we have the opportunity to ask questions to schools in our region about the impact of Leader Valley and Leader in Me.
What paradigms are integral to creating a leadership culture at your school?
The number one paradigm is change starts with me. We have worked really hard to have everyone- staff and students- take charge of their own learning and their own actions. We know that we can’t blame others for our thoughts or feelings, we have to look into our circle of control and take charge of the things we can control. This is not always easy for adults or kids to do, but we keep working on it.
What are your school’s “big rocks” as it relates to creating a leadership culture?
Our big rocks to creating a leadership culture are to ensure that each student has a leadership role- that can either be a building role or a classroom role. We are also working on a system to have our leaders from the previous year train the new leaders so that we have an ongoing tiered system of students for each leadership role. This was going really well pre-covid and we hope to get back to it as soon as possible.
Photos were taken pro-COVID-19.
What are the results you have seen as it relates to leadership, culture, and academics?
Lowell is a great place to be and you can feel that from the moment you walk in. Students are greeted each morning by adults and other students. Many of our substitute teachers at Lowell have said they feel welcome and know they can go to staff members to get help. Student work is posted in the hallways and we strive to make Lowell a family-friendly environment. We want our entire community to know that we are here for them and will do whatever it takes to make our students succeed.
What are a few key stories that illustrate the impact of Leader in Me for students?
In our lessons during lead time, we have taught the lesson about choosing your weather and being either a soda pop kid or a water kid. This really relates to children because they understand what happens you shake a pop bottle and when you shake a water bottle. We have had students say that they are going to work on being more like a water bottle. The staff has also used this when talking to kids who are upset. It really seems to resonate with students. It has also been really nice to have the students apply for building leadership roles. This gives teachers the opportunity to go over how important applications are and making the connection to real-life when applying for jobs. Pre-covid, we had a help wanted board where students could go and see what roles were open in the building.