Sunday, January 16, 2011

Learning From Other Schools

While reading The Leader in Me, I found that the educators from other schools visited AB Combs School and then came back and implemented it at their own schools.  One school listed was English Estates School in Florida.  It took me a while to find Beth Sharpe since she was now at a new school but she was very willing to tell me how she implemented the program as a principal.  Christie Dickens was the principal at Dewey Elementary in Quincy, Illinois that was also written about in the book.  Christie agreed to meet me for coffee in Chicago while we were attending a conference.  I also contacted Suzanne Hahn from Illinois.  All of the principals took teachers to visit AB Combs School.  How could I get our teachers to North Carolina.  Even visiting Quincy, Illinois was a two day trip!

 I called the Franklin Covey Company to learn more and was referred to Connie Spencer, who is our regional representative, and my new guide on the journey.  She told me about St. Stans School, a PreK-8 school in Chicago that just started implementing the program. I knew I needed to go to Chicago the next day.  Would the principal let me visit?   Like everyone else I have met along the way, the principal invited me to come.  We walked up the stairs and there on the wall I saw my first indication that the Leader in Me was happening. It was not a fancy mural but a simple hand made tree, but it was a beautiful sight to me - an indication that teachers were teaching the 7 Habits.  St. Stans was also redoing their Media Center and had the poles painted with the 7 Habits.  Although, I had the opportunity to talk to a teacher and the Principal, school had been dismissed and I was not introduced to any children.  Do I dare approach the children playing outside in the After School Club.  I did not want to start a "stranger danger" issue.  The children ran over to the fence where I tried not to be obvious to the adults.  "Hi, I am here to learn about the Leader in Me.  Do you know about that?" I asked.  "Oh yes, we do.  That's like Begin with the End in Mind," one girl who could not be more than six said.  "Do you know what that means?" I asked.  "Oh sure, that's like if you are having a pizza party you need to think about getting the plates and the napkins and ordering the pizza.  Because if you don't the people will just come over and sit down and there will be nothing."  This child bowled me over.  The school had only been teaching the habits for a few weeks and this little tyke could produce it for a stranger!  I tried a few more kids and left more convinced that this program really could make an impact on our children.

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