University Place Elementary Achieves Lighthouse Status
By Sarah Noble, Aug 14, 2012
University Place Elementary—located in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. University Place Elementary, a PreK—5 public school, began their journey with The Leader in Me in July 2009 with a clear focus and mission:
Growing tomorrow’s leaders today.
After a devastating tornado last year, Principal, Dr. Deron Cameron, Assistant Principal Terri North-Byrts, and their staff were re-located to three interim schools. Through this upheaval, however, The Leader and Me process did not lose its stride. The staff and students continue to “Leader up” their interim space and are committed to instilling leadership at their school.
Highlights of University Place Elementary
- Lighthouse Team. University place has a staff-led, student-led, and parent-led Lighthouse Team. The 7 Habits are represented in Leadership Assemblies, monthly newsletters, the University Place blog, and their “Spotted Being a Leader” mailbox.
- Leadership Environment. Leadership is displayed all around University Place. The main hallways are labeled with 7 Habits street signs, there is a mural of their mascot daydreaming about the 7 Habits, and the students/staff refashioned dated classrooms with 7 Habits language. They have also created a Leadership Lounge in the cafeteria and a student-leader display. A lighthouse is located in their main hallway to represent their Lighthouse status school to visitors.
- Integrated Curriculum and Instruction. The staff at University Place is committed to fully integrating the 7 Habits into the curriculum. Students and staff led a project that identified all library books that represented a habit. A teacher created a special 7 Habits label that the students placed on each of these books. Teachers are also using daily lesson plans and a Springtime Synergy project to bring The Leader in Me into their classrooms.
- Staff Collaboration. University Place teachers and staff have been committed to the 7 Habits since the beginning and have conducted multiple book studies, integrated the 7 Habits into all of their professional development days, and traveled to surrounding schools to share The Leader in Me process.
- Student Leadership. The school has a goal of 100 percent student-leadership employment. Examples of leadership jobs include morning greeters, birthday telegram leaders, morning and afternoon tutors, hall transition leaders, book-cart leaders, and Green leaders. Students can find leadership job postings on the “Help Wanted” job board in the main hallway. In addition, students have become part of the selection process for hiring new teachers. Service projects include working at Coldstone Creamery to raise money for a family in need, Denim for Cancer, Operation Christmas Child, and purchasing hams and turkeys for area senior citizens during the holidays. Students have been actively involved in student-led conferences and have created their own Lighthouse Team.
- Family and Community Engagement. Parent leadership and involvement is prevalent at University Place. Parents have created a Lighthouse Team and have embraced the 7 Habits at home. The students have partnered with the Druid City Garden Project to create a garden. Through the garden, students present vegetables of the month, host vegetable essay and coloring contests, and host a farmers’ market in the community to sell the vegetables they have grown. Parents are an integral partner in the garden project.
- Leadership Events. University Place held its third annual Leadership Day in December 2011 with visitors from across the country. Students provided school and classroom tours and conducted a student panel discussion of the 7 Habits. University Place held a Leader in Me forum for administrators and teachers interested in their process.
- Goal Tracking. 100 percent participation of staff and students maintain and utilize Data Notebooks. Classes spend their first week putting Leadership Portfolios together and setting goals.
- Measurable Results. Discipline referrals have decreased dramatically from 179 in 2008—2009 to 43 in 2010—2011. Student self-confidence and interpersonal skills have increased, as well as teacher engagement and ownership of University Place.
“With our leadership process, we are establishing an engaging educational culture by crafting life-long learners among students and staff through continual growth opportunities and professional development. The Leader in Me is a ubiquitous approach at University Place Elementary in which student achievement is augmented; the school culture is student-centered while also enhancing each staff member’s work and personal life and a proactive methodology with social skills.”—(Taken from the school’s website).
We would like to take this time to officially welcome University Place Elementary as a Leader in Me Lighthouse School.
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