Last updated: April 08. 2014 10:13AM - 1153 Views
By Amanda Moss amoss@civitasmedia.com

Willette Surgeon
Willette Surgeon
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The staff at West Rockingham Elementary have taken the first steps to help students learn how to be leaders.

The school is looking to become a Leader In Me school, a designation that will foster transformation of a child’s role from dependent to independent. The goal is to improve a child’s ability to take charge of his or her problems, fewer disciplinary problems, higher academic achievement and increased engagement between parents and teachers. There is training involved to become a Leader In Me school and that training process usually takes three years.

Principal Willette Surgeon is thrilled about the school entering into this process, and is looking forward to the results it produces.

“Recently I had the opportunity to attend a workshop where there was a presentation on the process of becoming a Leader In Me school,” Surgeon said. “It was a short presentation, but I was so impressed by it that I immediately wanted to learn more. I came back and shared what I learned with my staff and they were immediately interested.”

Surgeon said to achieve the results the process promises the schools implement “The 7 Habits of Happy Kids” by Sean Covey. These seven habits are be proactive, have a plan, work first and then play, everyone can win, listen before you talk, together is better and balance feels best. West Rockingham has already started teaching some of these habits into its students.

“To me, the seven habits are great tools to be given to the students to help them to be prepared for 21st century skills,” Surgeon said.

Surgeon along with around 10 of the school’s staff have taken the time to tour different schools that have become a Leader In Me school and attend a symposium on the subject.

“I was given the opportunity to tour two schools that have implemented the process,” said Matthew Poston, a second grade teacher at West Rockingham. “Some of the habits are really imbedded into these kids and they are taking the habits outside of the school. I talked to parents at these schools and they kept saying how their child is coming home telling them that they need to do their homework. Parents are immediately seeing a quick improvement with their kids and they’re picking up on it. I believe it will be very beneficial for the school.”

Cathy Albert, a first grade teacher at West Rockingham, couldn’t believe the difference in the kids that were part of the process.

“One of the things I saw was there is so much parental involvement with the school,” Albert said. “The whole process is about trying to teach and prepare these kids to be a leader. I believe this approach will change not just one school, but our community as a whole.”

Surgeon is hoping that the school will be able to find the funds to do the training. She couldn’t provide an estimate on the amount needed.

“It is a process and it is a financial endeavor in order to do it right and do it well,” Surgeon said. “I really think it’s worth it because these students really take ownership of their school and in their learning. They are proud of being part of their school.”

Any business leaders in the area, or any individuals interested in the process, can contact Surgeon personally at the school.

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