Fifth-graders at Love Creek Elementary are developing leadership skills through a motivational philosophy that also guides some of America’s most successful businesses.
Not only have they implemented a new initiative, they’re also learning how to adapt their roles and methods during a pandemic, in which half the leadership team is remote and the other half is in-person.
Love Creek’s student leadership team of Jaxon Edwards, Addison Hilton, Macey Lenz, Kavin Prattipati, Nathan Re and Kynley Rough are following the Leader in Me philosophy, based on Stephen Covey’s book “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People,” and geared toward children.
Students had to apply for the positions, and each teacher selected one in-person and one remote student for the team. The group first assembled via Zoom in September.
Fifth-grade math teacher Joe Rupar said the first time the team met virtually, he wasn’t sure how it would go.
“But they all worked together,” he said. “No one kid took control. It was a team effort, which was really great to see.”
Ensuring the team includes remote and in-person leaders has been a great advantage, Kavin said.
“We can see both sides of issues,” Kavin said. “You know the pros and cons of both.”
More than 50 students applied for the positions, Rupar said, so the team is developing more leadership roles for additional students to fill.
“They’re excited to build a team,” Rupar said. “The staff has been super impressed with the work these kids are doing. Teachers have been coming up with ideas to send to the team. These guys are awesome.”
Student leaders first worked on setting and achieving monthly goals. At the end of each month, they review what they accomplished, celebrate their work and fine-tune new goals for the next month. They also write the morning announcements, Rupar said.
Leadership skills can be learned by all students, team members say. Students encourage peers to set priorities, to help others without being asked, to acknowledge they will make mistakes and to learn from them, to work together, to take their time and always try their best.
The team’s next task is to select student-submitted artwork for the yearbook front and back covers that best reflects the school, Rupar said.
By the end of the year, the leadership team will have interviewed and selected members for next year’s school leadership team.