What paradigms are integral to creating a leadership culture at your school?
The paradigms of leadership and potential have been critical for us. The shift from adult-to student-led activities took some time to develop though. By letting go and by nurturing and embracing students’ individual gifts, we have seen such a change in how things work. Students now have the confidence to jump in and lead. They routinely go to teachers and the principal with ideas to share their talents and improve the school.
Leadership opportunities just keep expanding with their identification of needs to fill and encouragement of others to participate. Each week multiple opportunities are given for students to share their strengths through job responsibilities, collaborative classroom projects, and presentations, and planned events such as Monday Morning Prayer (the school’s faith-filled version of LIM Assemblies).
We offer many after-school enrichment activities that help them not only identify and enrich their genius but encourage them to become risk-takers and experience a variety of opportunities This year St. Patrick School dedicated Wednesday mornings twice a month to “We Lead Wednesday” with time not only for direct Leader in Me lessons, goal setting, and leadership notebooks but also time to empower students to use their leadership skills to affect change in their school, community, and world through service-learning. The paradigm of change is important for us too. All of the paradigms are.
What are your school’s “big rocks” as it relates to creating a leadership culture?
We are pleased with the results of our ramped-up service learning. We want to further showcase how all students are involved, what every class is doing, and which habits and practices they used. More reflection by students would help them further realize how the Leader in Me is empowering them to do great things. We want even more students to hold school-wide jobs, and some of those jobs will need to be virtual for students learning remotely. We were at 83% participation last year.
Another big rock, especially this year, is to reduce student anxiety. We are going to use Leader in Me and related principles to help teachers, as well as students, cope with the social/emotional issues that we are all dealing with during this time. This ties in well with our Bible verse for the year: “You are God’s Masterpiece.” We are going to focus on the roots of the 7 Habits tree so to speak, as is it is the basis for a strong leadership culture.
What are the results you have seen as it relates to leadership, culture, and academics?
100% of parents who responded to our survey were satisfied with the values students are learning, their leadership opportunities, and the environment and atmosphere created among students. All surveyed also indicated satisfaction with effective teaching strategies and our academic program. In terms of leadership, we have seen results from the systems we have put in place.
Last year we added dedicated time for direct Leader in Me lessons, diving deeper into the 4DX process. goal setting, and work with accountability partners and leadership notebooks. This year we held “We Lead Wednesday” schoolwide twice per month and it has taken us to the next level with the Leader in Me. 99% of our students set goals and worked on at least one lead measure. A portion of “We Lead Wednesday” was also devoted to service-learning, so we dedicated time for students to put leadership skills to work.
As far as culture goes, 83% of our students held formal school-wide jobs last year. It’s so ingrained in our culture now that being involved is the norm. New jobs based on student ideas were very popular and served to include more students in new meaningful ways. Our schoolwide WIG this year will be to increase that number. Things are going to look a little different so we will have to think outside of the box. Academically, St. Patrick students continue to excel. The benefits of our rigorous curriculum, small group instruction, and leadership skills developed through the Leader in Me contribute to high test scores.
In all grades and subjects reported for the spring 2019 ISASP test, the percentage of St. Patrick students either proficient or advanced proficient exceeds the state average by 11 or more percentage points. Our teachers use the common language of the 7 Habits and other Leader in Me principles to develop hard working, accountable problem solvers, and creative thinkers. St. Patrick students are proactive, lead their own learning, and take pride in what they do.