- Associated Press - Sunday, December 21, 2014

GLASGOW, Ky. (AP) - North Jackson Elementary has become one of four schools in the commonwealth to be named a Leader in Me Lighthouse School.

Since the school’s opening in 2009, they have been implementing The Leader in Me 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: be proactive; begin with the end in mind; put first things first; think win-win; seek first to understand, then to be understood; synergize; and sharpen the saw.

Each classroom and the hallways of the school are filled with certain aspects of the 7 Habits to continually remind and encourage students to become better leaders.

According to a statement issued by Franklin Covey Co. last week, this recognition comes “because the school had achieved outstanding results in school and student outcomes, implementing The Leader in Me process with fidelity.”

NJE principal Anthony Frazier said the school is honored to become a Lighthouse School, and that it has seen “amazing results” from implementing the 7 Habits.

Scoring a distinguished high performing school on the latest K-PREP scores and increased reading scores were among those results listed in the press release.

“One example is a student who came to our school as a very shy and reserved student and has now found his “voice” by discovering his passion for the arts and is now starring in the BCMS production of ‘The Wizard of Oz,’” Frazier said. “This process not only has had a significant impact on this student, but on all students. And, we expect to see greater results over time.”

According to the release, 2,000 public, private, charter and magnet schools in 35 countries have adopted The Leader in Me.

Sixth-grader Zach Wasson said the 7 Habits help him plan his day at school and make sure he is prepared.

“I think they are important because it helps kids take responsibility for their actions and be in charge of themselves,” he said.

Sean Covey, education practice leader for Franklin Covey, said schools that achieve the Lighthouse School milestone are “great examples of a strong leadership model and of what it means to be a Leader in Me school.”

“This school has experienced transformational results by implementing the paradigms and practices related to The Leader in Me. We are so pleased to celebrate the success they are experiencing,” he said.

To gain this distinction, NJE students, faculty and staff worked on implementing several of the 145 criteria schools are graded on.

“We kept working on that until we felt we were ready to have the official review team come,” Frazier said.

The whole process has taken about a year and a half.

Sherry Waldrop, guidance counselor at NJE, said the program was implemented there because they felt it would be good for the students and was a “good fit” for the vision of NJE.

“And leadership is the opportunity we want all kids to have,” she said. “The Lighthouse Status is above and beyond, but the habits are a base.”

She said it’s great now to see children who started at NJE in 2009 in kindergarten, who now are fifth- and sixth-graders and “we can see they really have internalized the concept.”

Mark Wallace, assistant superintendent for Barren County Schools, said the district is proud of NJE for receiving this honor.

Wallace said when he visits NJE he can see students step up into leadership.

“They seem to be very confident, and I think utilizing those 7 habits have made them more confident in their ability to communicate and really just take on leadership skills that we ultimately want all of our students to acquire,” he said.

The 7 Habits are part of the school’s daily language, “and I’m sure they carry that over into their home life because we hear parents say that they do, and they are very complementary of the program and what it’s doing to their children,” Wallace said.

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