Take a quick look around Kingsport City Schools, and you’ll see students of all ages accomplishing great things through leadership, hard work and collaboration. If the words of Hall of Fame coach Vince Lombardi are true that “Leaders aren’t born … they are made,” what is it that is shaping these young leaders?
KCS makes it a priority to provide students of all ages with opportunities to develop their leadership potential. One program in place at two elementary schools (Jackson and Johnson), The Leader in Me, is designed to help grow young leaders. The Leader in Me, developed by Franklin Covey, is a program that “teaches leadership and life skills to students and creates a culture of student empowerment based on the idea that every child can be a leader.”
This week in the Saturday Six, let’s look at how leadership skills are developed through this program, student by student.
- At Jackson Elementary, students are empowered to take on leaderships roles very early in their school careers. During the recent Kindergarten screening event, current Kindergarten students ushered pre-k students and their parents to classrooms and shared with them what it is like to be in Kindergarten. Jackson students also serve in leadership roles as school tour guides, greeters, and bus monitors.
- The Jackson BRAVES Council and Junior BRAVES Council are comprised of students who assume leadership roles at school and in the community. Currently, these Council representatives are leading a drive to support a local animal shelter. Students who participate in the school’s EBA (Emotional Bank Account) Club lead celebrations for student and staff birthdays and seek other activities to “fill the buckets” of members of the Jackson Elementary School family!
- Jackson students even take the lead in their own learning. Faculty and staff help students understand their growth as learners, how to set goals and monitor progress, and how to become active learners. In the past, conferences with parents to discuss student progress were led by teachers. Now, students take the lead in these conferences and lead the discussion regarding their growth and progress.
- At Johnson Elementary, all students are encouraged to “find their voice” and make meaningful contributions to the school and the community through shared leadership. Students explore their talents and interests, developing ways in which they can uniquely contribute to the success of their class, school, and community.
- The “application station” at Johnson is a program in which tasks formerly performed by staff are now completed by students. These include delivering Second Harvest Food Bank weekly food bags to classrooms, serving as morning and afternoon greeters, serving on the flag team, and assisting in cafeteria clean-up.
- Every Johnson student has a classroom leadership role. Additionally, the four school-wide assemblies that take place during the year are now completely student-led and student-developed. Students even take the lead in planning and hosting the annual volunteer appreciation lunch. At Johnson, leadership is considered a right, not a privilege!
In Kingsport City Schools, student leaders are being developed every single day. Children of all ages are learning to respect themselves, respect others, and take responsibility for their own actions. By encouraging leadership development in every student, KCS continues to pursue its vision of being “Student Focused … World Class.”