Although The Leader in Me is a fairly new process, research on The Leader in Me is advancing quickly and is very promising. Initial evaluation studies conducted by third-party researchers, as well as related studies and articles, are available below.  In the coming months and years, we look forward to sharing updates from the many active research investigations, which are exploring various aspects of The Leader in Me.  We thank you for your interest in our growing body of research and hope you will soon visit this page again.


Evaluation of The Leader in Me in Two School Districts based on Teacher and Students' Reaction, Learning, Application, and Overall Impact 

85% agree that teachers cared about students, and students liked going to school.
90% agree students acquired new knowledge and skills to be better leaders at school and home.
87% agree teachers acquired new skills & knowledge to empower students.
84% agree teachers acquired new skills & knowledge to be better leaders.

The ROI Institute was commissioned by FranklinCovey to use their trademarked evaluation process to independently measure the impact of The Leader in Me within two school districts. The ROI Institute selected two school districts and examined four Leader in Me schools within each district (eight Leader in Me schools in total). Available data from non-Leader in Me schools within each respective district served as an appropriate comparison for academic analyses. Many positive benefits related to implementing The Leader in Me are discussed in the report, leading to the conclusion that: "The results from this evaluation effort indicate that The Leader in Me is successful and making a positive impact in the schools where it is implemented.”

ROI Institute | Download Study


Nationwide Assessment of Common Whole-School Improvement Programs based on Principals' Experience and Perceived Impact

96% indicate The Leader in Me has positively impacted developing student leadership skills—the highest score among the compared programs.
92% are “satisfied” or “very satisfied” with The Leader in Me.
93% indicate that The Leader in Me has positively impacted school culture—the highest score among the compared programs.
90% implementing The Leader in Me said it was “worthwhile investment”.

Commissioned by FranklinCovey, Education Direction researchers surveyed a random selection of 669 principals across the United States to learn the common challenges faced in their schools, and how some of the most common whole-school programs (i.e., PBIS, RTI, PLC, or The Leader in Me) aid in addressing these challenges. The researchers specifically examined how The Leader in Me compares with other programs in terms of educational impact, stakeholder satisfaction, and value.  The comparisons reveal The Leader in Me is an equally, if not more successful, whole-school improvement program, with unique value in establishing student leadership capabilities and transforming school culture.

Education Direction | Download Study


Comprehensive Report of the Initial Measured Impacts of The Leader in Me on Schools Partnering with the Leader Valley Initiative

71% of Leader in Me schools saw notable improvements in student attendance in the first year of implementation.
57% of reporting schools reported fewer disciplinary referrals in the first year of implementation.
95% of faculty participating in a case study believed there are high expectations for ALL students, compared to 23% who believed in such expectations before The Leader in Me.
57% of reporting schools indicated reduced incidents of bullying and harassment in the first year of implementation.

Researchers from the University of Northern Iowa were commissioned by the Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber to collect and analyze both quantitative and qualitative data on the 17 Leader in Me schools involved in the Leader Valley Initiative, as well as conduct several in-depth case studies to closely examine certain affects of the implementation process. The report details the promising findings, including improvement in chronic absenteeism, decreased incidence of bullying, and dramatic improvements in staff morale and job satisfaction (compared to baseline).

University of Northern Iowa & Hawkeye Community CollegeDownload Study


The Leader in Me Principals Appraise Stakeholder Reaction, Overall Impact, and Level of Endorsement for The Leader in Me Process: A Randomly-sampled Interview-based Study

99% report that The Leader in Me has a positive impact on their school.
92% report that parents say
The Leader in Me has a positive impact.
99% report a positive reaction to
The Leader in Me from their teachers.
87% were “extremely likely” to recommend
The Leader in Me to another principal who asked for their opinion.

Westgate Research, Inc. was commissioned by FranklinCovey to conduct a large-scale research project interviewing 260 randomly-selected principals involved with The Leader in Me program for one year or more. Among other findings detailed in the report, the interviewed principals indicated The Leader in Me was positively impacting their school and most frequently cited decreased discipline problems and improvements in communication, student responsibility, leadership skills, school culture, and academics most commonly in open-ended interview questions.

Westgate Research | Download Study


Parental Evaluation of The Leader in Me process on their Child’s Leadership, Character, and Academic Development: A Multi-school Survey Study

21x more likely to be highly satisfied than unsatisfied with how The Leader In Me promotes character-building and development in students.
20x more likely to be highly satisfied than unsatisfied with how The Leader In Me has led to academic improvements.
75% said they are highly satisfied with leadership qualities emerging in [their] students as a result of The Leader In Me.
78% are highly satisfied with how The Leader In Me has encouraged character-building and development in students.

Lighthouse Research surveyed parents whose children were attending one of five regionally-diverse Leader in Me Schools across the U.S., to provide FranklinCovey with an independent assessment of the awareness, satisfaction, and experiences of this important stakeholder group. With a statistical confidence rating of 95%, the researchers report an overwhelmingly positive response of parents towards The Leader in Me in all areas of measured impact.

Lighthouse Research | Download Study


Quantitative Analyses Comparing The Leader in Me and Control-schools on Standardized Assessments and Behavioral Indicators

8% more likely for Leader in Me schools to be on benchmark for statewide standardized math tests than non-Leader in Me schools in this study.
14% more likely for high poverty students to reach benchmark in Leader in Me schools than control group schools within the same district.
11% increase in standardized literacy assessment during the first two years implementing The Leader in Me.
16% more likely for African American students to reach benchmark in Leader in Me schools compared with control group schools from the same district.

The United Way of Arcadiana partnered with The University of Louisiana’s Picard Center to evaluate the impact of The Leader in Me on participating local schools. The researchers compared two cohorts of Leader in Me Schools to control schools (i.e., schools within the same district that were not implementing The Leader in Me) and analyzed growth within each school.  Behavioral analyses (e.g., discipline referrals) from this initial study were inconclusive due to “poor data quality” at the school district. However, analysis of academic outcomes provide preliminary evidence that The Leader in Me may play an indirect role in supporting academic growth.

University of Louisiana at Lafayette study Download Study

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Researching The Leader in Me?

Culture, Leadership, and Academics are “pillars” in The Leader in Me conceptual framework. Download the entire framework here. Each pillar contains effective practices that are experientially supported by measurable successes within Leader in Me schools and supported by complementary educational research. Take a moment to explore each practice and read the related research quotes to better understand the evidence-based logic of The Leader in Me model.  As we continue to grow the research base of The Leader in Me, we rely on research like this for guidance, clarity, and support. Download the full list of references here.

Teach Leadership Principles

Leader in Me schools believe that “leadership is a choice and not a position” and therefore seek to equip all stakeholders with key leadership principles that will foster success. Leadership is taught first to the staff (“professional learning”), then to the students (“student learning”), and finally to the parents and guardians (“family learning”).


What Research Says…

"There are some basic assumptions that support the link between leadership and learning: the opportunity to lead is inherently self-motivating, everyone is capable of developing and exercising leadership, [and] leadership is expressed in a variety of ways."

(Conzemius, A.E. & O'Neil, J., 2014, p. 13)

Professional Learning


What Research Says…

"Enhancing the faculty's professional capabilities through deliberate focus on the quality of new staff, strengthening the processes, supporting faculty learning, and promoting a continuous improvement ethos is essential to create a dependable support system by which students can thrive."

(Bryk, A.S. et.al., 2010, p. 46)

Ongoing Staff Learning

Staff collaborate regularly to learn and grow their own leadership skills, as well as their ability to implement the leadership model through the implementation of a professional learning plan.


What Research Says…

"We have only recently come to understand that student learning also depends on the extent to which schools support the ongoing development and productive exercise of teachers' knowledge and skills."

(Smylie & Hart, 1999, p. 421)

"Teachers who developed as leaders in the character realm realize the importance of student leadership"

(Geller, 2012; pg. 267)

"Enhancing the faculty's professional capabilities through deliberate focus on the quality of new staff, strengthening the processes, supporting faculty learning, and promoting a continuous improvement ethos is essential to create a dependable support system by which students can thrive."

(Bryk, A.S. et.al., 2010, p. 46)

New Staff Learning

New staff receives 7 Habits and Leader in Me implementation trainings, consistent mentoring, and ongoing feedback and support.


What Research Says…

"As with principals, if staff do not understand, they will likely implement it ineffectively or reject it for the wrong reasons. If they do not value it, then they will not implement it effectively (if at all). If they do not know how to implement it, then again they will likely implement it ineffectively."

(Berkowitz & Bier, 2004, p.79)

"Once the high performing school culture is created, a number of mechanisms help solidify the acceptance of values and ensure that the culture is maintained or reinforced…Step 1: Hiring Staff…Trained recruiters use standardized procedures and focus on values that are important in the culture....Step 2: Orientation...After the chosen candidate is hired, considerable training ensues to expose the person to the culture."

(Bulach, Lundenburg, & LesPotter, 2011, p. 127; Kruse & Louis, 2009)

Principal Learning and Modeling

Principal modeling includes an annual plan with specific personal goals to increase his/her leadership capacity.


What Research Says…

"[...] modeling is a leader’s most powerful instructional tool. It gives the principal credibility in promoting [social emotional learning] as a 'big idea' and in leading the planning and implementation of [social emotional learning] programming, and it demonstrates the relational trust essential to the success of effective [social emotional learning] implementation in schools"

(Blair, 2000, pg. 21; Elias, O’ Brien, & Weissberg, 2006)

"One of the factors that practitioners will repeatedly affirm is that the school leader is the most critical in the success or failure of a character-education initiative."

(Berkowitz & Bier, 2004, p.77); DeRoche & Williams 2001; Lickona 1991)

Student Learning

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What Research Says…

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(Conzemius, A.E. & O'Neil, J., 2014, p. 13)

Direct Lessons

While the integrated approach is the most common way to teach and reinforce leadership principles, direct lessons—where the principles are taught as stand-alone lessons—also have their place. In fact, schools that implement The Leader in Me best are those that set aside consistent, ongoing times for brief but direct lessons.


What Research Says…

"Traditional social-emotional learning has relied heavily upon more behavioral models of learning and development and therefore depended heavily on classroom lessons that directly teach social and emotional skills. This same approach has been dominant in much of the school-based prevention literature....it is clear that...direct skill training [is] quite effective."

(Berkowitz & Bier, 2004, p.80; Greenberg et al. 1995; Tappe, Galer-Unti & Baily, 1995)

"As a child learns leadership, they develop the four common self-perceptions related to effective leaders: “self-esteem, locus of control [that is, taking responsibility for what happens in your life], self-efficacy [akin to self-confidence], and emotional stability"

(Dubrin, 2013; p. 40)

Integrated Approaches

Integrated approaches to teaching leadership principles deepens the learning and shifts the learning to application. When leadership is woven into current lessons, activities, and day-to-day interactions in the common areas of school, it isn’t one more thing to do but a better way of doing what schools are already doing.


What Research Says…

"To the extent that we integrate social emotional learning into the life of our schools and homes, we are increasing our chances of having healthy, responsible, and caring learners. The specific social emotional skills, understanding, and values that these programs promote are a vital model for life."

(Cohen, 2001, p. 6)

Modeling

Staff consistently models leadership principles and communicates leadership through everyday verbal, non-verbal, and written interactions with students, staff, and families.


What Research Says…

"Instructional modeling certainly has its place, but it isn’t really a shaper of culture. The kind of modeling that creates culture is more subtle, ubiquitous, and embedded. It is the modeling of who we as teachers are as thinkers and learners. This kind of modeling can’t be ‘put on’ for students’ benefit; it must be real. Students know if a teacher is passionate about a topic, interested in ideas, engaged as a learner, reflective, and deliberative."

(Ritchhart, 2015, p. 8)

"What aids students in becoming leaders is having examples of leadership. Teachers, parents, administration, and fellow peer leaders can model leadership characteristics for students....Modeling leadership through power sharing involves a clear demonstration by the instructor of respect for students [as] competent, contributing individuals who are capable of providing leadership"

(Hickman, 1994, p. 138)

Family Learning

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What Research Says…

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Family Communication

At Leader in Me Schools, families are regularly updated on the role of leadership in academics, school culture, and the individual growth of each child. Families are routinely provided with ideas for leadership integration at home.


What Research Says…

"We found that frequent teacher-family communication immediately increased student engagement… we identify three primary mechanisms through which communication likely affected engagement: stronger teacher-student relationships, expanded parental involvement, and increased student motivation"

(Kraft & Dougherty, 2012)

7 Habits Training for Families

Families are annually offered The 7 Habits of Highly Successful Families training, and the facilitator is often another parent. Giving family members the opportunity to apply the concepts of the 7 Habits in the home forges a partnership between the school and the home with the mutual goal of developing the whole child.


What Research Says…

"Schools with effective, successful family-engagement programs also offer parent information sessions periodically throughout the year. These are extremely beneficial to families and teachers in the development of common understandings and support structures for student achievement."

(Leblanc-Esparza & Leblanc-Esparza, 2013, p. 40)

Student Teaching at Home

Students facilitate monthly family learning of leadership principles using student-created activities. This practice not only reinforces the learning of leadership principles for students, but also reinforces the learning for families.


What Research Says…

"There is also a burgeoning literature demonstrating the power of parental involvement in children’s academic achievement and character development (Patrikakou et al., 2003), and many character education programs build in aspects of character education that encourage or require parental participation. They have specific parent-involvement components that engage the parent and child in educational activities at home; teachers then follow up on these activities in the classroom, strengthening the connections between home and school (e.g., the Child Development Project and Positive Action)."

(Berkowitz & Bier, 2004)

Create a Leadership Culture

Leader in Me schools use school culture as a powerful vehicle to affirm the worth and potential of students throughout the physical and emotional learning environment. In addition, schools effectively distribute leadership responsibilities across staff, students, and parents, and regularly hold leadership events to build identity and unity within the school community.


What Research Says…

"I believe that culture is the hidden tool for transforming our schools and offering our students the best learning possible. Traditionally, policymakers have focused on curriculum as the tool for transformation, naively assuming that teachers merely deliver curriculum to their students….In reality, curriculum is something that is enacted with students. It plays out within the dynamics of the school and classroom culture. Thus culture is foundational. It will determine how any curriculum comes to life."

(Ritchhart, 2015, p. 6)

"[...] there is a compelling body of research that underscores the importance of school [culture]. Positive school [culture] promotes student learning, academic achievement, school success and healthy development, as well as effective risk prevention, positive youth development and increased teacher retention." (National School Climate Council, 2007) "A school's culture either supports or diminishes the ability to develop shared leadership"

(Conzemius, A. E. & O'Neill, J., 2014, p. 13)

Leadership Environment

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What Research Says…

"Thehjfgaldjkshgjkadfhgjadshfdjsagheighiuerghueqrghuqerhgiuerhguerbgdfbvjdfanvjdafbgoidfnodafnbogbadfjgbadfoughafoudbgouadfbgoadfbgouadfbgiueahgouerqhgoueqrntksbvfhilauohiwenjfgdfagfdgwhrthrtyjukikliouloutryjnrathbethtrahjwytkuilrukyjtbgiuaehfiowbeghuays"

(Bryk, et.al., 2010, p. 46)

Physical Environment (SEE)

The physical environments of Leader in Me schools are vibrant, colorful, and engaging, and communicate the individual greatness of each student, inspiring them to reach their full potential.


What Research Says…

"Walk into any classroom or learning space, even in the absence of students or teachers, and you can tell something about the learning that happens in that space… What is up on the wall will tell you what the teacher or leader thinks is important to highlight and showcase… Thinking about the messages an environment communicates and the needs it facilitates can help us construct environments that better support students’ learning."

(Ritchhart, 2015, p. 8-9)

"[...]symbols are outward expressions of values and meanings deeper than those we can express on a rational level. School colors, mascots, touchstones, and credos can infuse a school with meaning and influence its members' thoughts, motivations, and behaviors. Rituals, traditions, and ceremonies reinforce members' enthusiasm by cultivating identity, strengthening the ties to the school, and building a cohesive community"

(Kaplan & Owings, p. 39)

Common Language (HEAR)

When asked what benefits schools see from The Leader in Me, the most frequent answer from teachers is, “It gives us a common language.” Common language is part of the culture of a Leader in Me School.


What Research Says…

"Through language, teachers notice, name, and highlight the activity, thinking, and ideas that are important within any learning context, drawing students’ attention to these concepts and practices in the process. To many teachers’ surprise, they often find that when they begin to notice and name students’ thinking and positive learning moves, their students begin to exhibit more of these behaviors."

(Ritchhart, 2015, p. 7)

"A common fund of mutually understood words is critical to the functioning of a classroom community. When specific words are connected to the caring vision a class collectively hold, each student in the class can be brought to the same place of focus the moment a certain word is used....The words that make up a common language help all students start out in the same place in hopes of moving ahead together toward a unified classroom goal."

(Levine, 2003)

Emotional Environment (FEEL)

Staff, students, and families feel welcomed, valued, trusted, and safe and have ample opportunities for authentic engagement.


What Research Says…

"Nurturing an overall normative environment where students feel safe and are pressed and supported to engage (and succeed) in more ambitious intellectual activity. Such an environment is central to making school reform work for children"

(Bryk, et.al., 2010, p. 46)

Shared Leadership


What Research Says…

"Common language provides students with something to hang on to as they cross the bridge between their inner words (including individual thoughts, feelings and sensations of others). Students who are taught a concept and given its specific name will more easily internalize the teaching. When we are taught social skills we can break the ideas down into their simplest components and apply words to those components."

(Conzemius, A.E. & O'Neil, J., 2014, p. 13)

Student Leadership Roles

Typically, when a school starts The Leader in Me process, student leadership roles are scarce. As a school matures in the process, students are not only much more involved in leadership roles, but they are also given voice and choice in defining and carrying out those roles. This leads to greater intrinsic motivation among students.


What Research Says…

"… [we] provide support for the contention that autonomy support exists not only through offering students choices and opportunities for decision making about procedures and organization, but also as supporting student independence in thinking or allowing student choice in how to think."

(Stefanou, et. al., 2004, p. 105)

"Student Leadership roles provide the opportunity for cognitive and organizational autonomy, which may have more long-lasting effects on engagement and motivation in their education."

(Stefanou et.al., 2004)

Student-Input Systems

At Leader in Me Schools, students are routinely consulted on how to improve all aspects of the school and systematic inclusion of student voice in advisory, team, faculty, and/or curriculum meetings exists.


What Research Says…

"The willingness to listen conveys that teachers are open to students. Students perceive that teachers care and this causes them to be open to their teachers. This is the foundation for trust to develop. Rapport between teachers and students is necessary before they take the risk of being open to learning....students will not risk learning until openness and trust can be established. This basic human relationship between teachers and students starts with listening to students and showing them that you care"

(Bulach, 2000, p.8)

Active Lighthouse Teams

Lighthouse Teams provide direction and oversight to the implementation and long-term sustainability of The Leader in Me. When shared leadership includes an Active Staff, Student, and Family Lighthouse Team, synergy becomes the driving force behind innovative ideas and strong engagement in the school.


What Research Says…

"Forming a representative leadership team underscores this profound idea: it does take a village to raise a healthy child. A representative leadership team positions the principal to effectively 'reach out' to ensure that all members of the school community become involved with these improvement efforts."

(Cohen, 2012, p.240)

"The role of the... leadership team is to lead the school through the... school improvement process and to guide and monitor the implementation of schoolwide strategies for improvement of student learning"

(Conzemius & O'Neill, p. 231)

Leadership Events

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What Research Says…

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(Conzemius, A.E. & O'Neil, J., 2014, p. 13)

Schoolwide Events

Any typical school event can be turned into a leadership event. The primary purposes for holding leadership events are to build a sense of community, to establish culture, to give students opportunities to apply their leadership skills, and to celebrate successes.


What Research Says…

"[...] schools improve best when their members recognize and celebrate small successes through shared ceremonies highlighting both individual and group contributions. In turn, all these fortify a school culture of continuous learning and improved outcomes"

(Kaplan & Owings, 2013, p. 39)

Classroom Events

Classrooms usually set aside time each week to talk things over or do something fun to celebrate a success. Leader in Me schools simply look at those times through the lens of leadership and turn them into leadership events. Instead of the teacher doing all the leading, students take turns leading discussions, planning projects, practicing public speaking, and celebrating.etc.


What Research Says…

"By joining together, these students and their teachers help construct social solidarity. We agree with Kertzer (1988) that 'solidarity is produced by people acting together, not by people thinking together' (p. 76). The feelings of community that arise through [events] result less from the sharing of some common idea and more from the sharing of some common experience."

(Quantz & Magolda, 1997,p.226)

Family and Community Events

Most schools hold events to which family and community guests are invited. These, too, can become leadership events and can create a sense of community, allow students to develop their leadership skills, inform family members of leadership principles, and involve community leaders in teaching about leadership.


What Research Says…

"Schools can bring parents into celebration of their children's successes and publically acknowledge the parents' roles in their children's progress. These occasions reinforce school's and parents' mutual commitment to their children's learning and maturation"

(Kaplan & Owing, 2013, p. 189)

Align Academic Systems

Because Leader in Me schools are rooted in a different set of paradigms (believing educators should empower students to direct their own learning, for example), schools must align their academic systems to reinforce these paradigms and not undermine them. The three most important systems schools should align are the school goal achievement system, the student self-directed learning system, and the instructional improvement system.


What Research Says…

"Systems thinking allows us to take a shortcut through the paradoxes and barriers that litter the learning world of schools: it allows us to absorb complex ideas and… helps us to unlearn old ways and gather the knowledge needed to create a higher quality public service culture."

(Barnard, 2013, p. xvi)

"Significant changes in the content and process of education require coordinated efforts throughout a school: you cannot implement “learner-directed learning,” for example, in one classroom and not others. It would drive kids nuts, not to mention the stress on the individual teacher."

(Senge, 1995, p.22))

Aligning School Goals

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What Research Says…

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(Conzemius, A.E. & O'Neil, J., 2014, p. 13)

School, Classroom, and Staff Goals

When school, classroom, and staff goals are aligned, stakeholder goals and action plans directly contribute to goal attainment. Each Leader in Me School identifies and aligns academic, leadership, and culture goals based on data their School Improvement Plans and State/District Standards.


What Research Says…

"Goals become guideposts in defining standards of school improvement efforts. Without clearly stated goals, no means exist to determine if acceptable standards of school improvement have been met"

(Bulach, Lunenberg, and Potter, 2011, p. 106; Lunenburg & Irby, 2006; Lunenburg & Ornstein, 2012)

Goal and Data Tracking

When schooland classroom goals are publicly displayed and routinely tracked, data analysis becomes an integral part of the school culture, progress is embraced by all, and individual and collective contribution is celebrated.


What Research Says…

"Implementing what we understand from research on tracking goals, The Leader in Me gives the opportunity for students to track their goals in their Leadership notebooks. Students who are writing down their goals, creating a plan and process by which they will accomplish the goal, and are provided feedback and support are more likely to not only achieve their goal but perform better academically than simply having a goal in mind."

(Shunk & Swartz, 1993)

Staff Collaboration Around Each Student’s Growth

Staff at Leader in Me schools ensure the academic and personal growth of every student. Staff regularly communicate and collaborate around the needs of each student using data from the school and classroom goals and measures, and develop innovative solutions to drive student progress. The expectation that every student will succeed is the engine behind such exceptional teamwork and effort.


What Research Says…

"A strong professional community encourages collective actions, values mutual aid rather than isolated, individual efforts and privacy, and shares responsiblity for instructional improvement. The focus is always on how this activity helps students learn."

(Kaplan & Owings ,2013, p. 109)

Student-Led Academics

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What Research Says…

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(Conzemius, A.E. & O'Neil, J., 2014, p. 13)

Student Goals

When students develop the skills necessary to examine their data and assess their learning needs, set appropriate goals and develop action plans to meet those goals, and track and reflect on progress towards goals, they become leaders of their own learning.


What Research Says…

"By having students select the behaviors they agree to do their best to follow, you give the student control without giving up control. Since the students choose the behaviors they agree to follow, they are more like to try and adhere to the [goal they created]."

(Bulach, Lunenberg, & Otter, 2011, p. 88)

Leadership Notebooks

Leadership Notebooks allow students to have a place where they can organize their learning and goals and understand their growth over time. By tracking progress, students learn to identify patterns of strengths and challenges and they gain knowledge of themselves as learners and leadersand a sense of ownership for their personal development becomes the norm.


What Research Says…

"Leadership Notebooks is a major keystone of The Leader in Me process. The Leadership Notebooks provide opportunities for "… students [to] organize a very purposeful portfolio that indicates progress towards classroom objectives. It also promotes student self-reflection."

(Bailey & Guskey, 2001, p. 28)

Student-Led Conferences

Student-Led Conferences are about learning and growth, not a “show and tell” display of work. When students at Leader in Me schools have prepared to tell their own learning story (or lack thereof), they become more aware of what they have or have not learned and why. Through this process, students discover and understand their strengths, challenges, interests, and learning preferences, all which build a strong sense of self-efficacy.


What Research Says…

"[...} student-led parent conferences...I believe... is the biggest breakthrough in communicating about student achievement in the last century. When students are well prepared over an extended period of time to tell the story of their own success (or lack thereof), they seem to experience a fundamental shift in their internal sense of responsibility for that success. The pride in accomplishment that students feel when they have a positive story to tell and tell it well can be immensely motivational."

(Stiggins, 1999, p.196)

Empowering Instruction


What Research Says…

"Empowering learners to take responsibility for their own learning is the ultimate aim of education"

(Heimstra & Sisco, 1990, p.397)

Teacher Planning and Reflection

Teachers at Leader in Me schools continually engage in a cycle of planning, practicing, reflecting, and learning to further develop their teaching skills. These sharpened skills allow teachers to consistently engage students’ higher-order thinking, tap their creativity, and expand their problem-solving capabilities.


What Research Says…

"Reflective practice is highly esteemed and widely used in many professions, especially those that require on-the-spot decisions and adaptations. Such endeavors can be difficult for novices who lack practical experience, and reflective practice can help students of those professions build the experience they need in order to be successful."

(Marzano, 2012, p. 4)

Collaborative Protocols

At Leader in Me schools, teachers facilitate interdependence in their lessons by drawing on varied collaborative protocols that ensure students are working together, learning from each other, and engaging deeply in the learning process.


What Research Says…

"Group work— particularly cooperative group work— is a powerful instructional activity. Indeed, research indicates that cooperative learning groups have a positive impact on student achievement, interpersonal relationships, and attitudes about learning."

(see Slavin, 1995; Johnson & Johnson, 1999; Nastasi & Clements, 1991)

"These positive benefits are usually attributed to students’ increased interaction with the content and with each other. For cooperative learning to produce these positive results, it must be set up well via the implementation of relevant rules and procedures."

(Marzano, 2003, p.23)

Student-led Learning

When students are allowed to internalize learning objectives, choose learning activities, engage in their own assessment, and otherwise be given opportunities to lead their own learning, they not only “learn how to learn,” but also develop an insatiable drive for learning along the way.


What Research Says…

"Student-led learning is associated with greater level of motivation in students, facilitating more positive relationships between peers and teachers, higher academic achievement among students, and increased desire for personal challenge and responsibility."

(McCombs & Miller, 2009)

Suggested Further Reading


Early Social-Emotional Functioning and Public Health: The Relationship Between Kindergarten Social Competence and Future Wellness
Authors: Damon E. Jones, Mark Greenberg, and Max Crowley
Year: 2015
Journal: American Journal of Public Health

In this 20-year retrospective study, researchers found significant relationships between “social competence” skills in kindergarten (e.g., sharing and helping behaviors) and several outcomes in early adulthood. Students who were rated high in social competence may be more likely to have a well-paying job and attain higher education than students with weaker social competencies.

Read the Executive Summary | Access to the Full Article


The Character Factor: Measures and Impact of Drive and Prudence
Authors: Richard V. Reeves, Joanna Venator, and Kimberly Howard
Year: 2014
Affiliation: Center on Children & Families at Brookings

Through the analysis of data collected longitudinally using the Behavior Problems Index, researchers examined the relationship between early development of “performance character” traits like drive and prudence on adolescent and early adult outcomes. The researchers found that the development of character skills in early and middle childhood are as predictive of educational attainment as cognitive skills (e.g., reading and math skills).

Access to the Full Article


Schools, Skills, and Synapses
Author: James J. Heckman
Affiliation: University of Chicago

Economist and Nobel laureate James Heckman discusses how early development of noncognitive factors such as self-regulation have important outcomes in adulthood. He argues that children of disadvantaged families may gain the most from developing these skills as they serve a critical role in life and career success.

Access to the Full Article