Little Leaders: Campus recognized as Lighthouse School for leadership program

Published on Tuesday, 15 April 2014 00:00 - Written by EMILY GUEVARA eguevara@tylerpaper.com

Prev  1 of 7  Next

 

With a new title to its name, Dr. Bryan C. Jack Elementary School has accomplished a lot.

But school Principal Shauna Hittle doesn’t plan to sit back and relax anytime soon.

“We actually have a lot of responsibility to maintain fidelity of what (we) implemented and to be a role model for other schools,” she said.

Last week, representatives from the Leader in Me recognized the campus as a Lighthouse School.

This recognition comes “because of the results a school is achieving and the impact it is having on staff, students, parents and the greater community,” according to the Leader in Me website.

Earning this status typically takes at least two years but can be accomplished in less time if the schools make a greater effort to do so.

As a Lighthouse campus, the school is among 75 campuses in the nation to have such a designation and among at least 15 in the state.

“It’s like getting your black belt in karate,” Sean Covey, an executive vice president with FranklinCovey, the company of which Leader in Me is a part, said of the accomplishment.

Ms. Hittle said because of the recognition, the Leader in Me likely will feature Jack at symposiums and highlight it as a model campus.

Other educators also might contact the campus or visit it in order to see The Leader in Me model in action.

 

GETTING TO THIS DAY

Although this is the first year of full Leader in Me implementation, the campus began the process more than five years ago after then third-grade teacher Kim Hill read the book and told a fellow teacher and Ms. Hittle about it.

From there, parents jumped on board and encouraged the school’s leadership to move forward with the leadership model.

Since then, the school has seen improvement in student achievement, a decrease in discipline referrals and an increase in student engagement, Ms. Hittle said.

The Leader in Me leadership model is the tool the campus has used to do that and is a part of its college and career readiness plan, she said.

Students learn leadership through classroom and campuswide jobs. Classroom jobs include caf← leader, shoe-tying expert and pet caretaker.

Schoolwide jobs, which are called Patriot professions, include student ambassadors, a leader of technology and school beautification.

Students track their own academic, discipline and attendance status in notebooks that they review regularly. They also are responsible for setting goals and tracking their progress toward those goals.

“It’s just really about making them accountable and responsible for their learning with our guidance,” Ms. Hittle said.

 

AFFECTING THE COMMUNITY

The school community has embraced the leadership model.

Third-grader Ronelle Samson, 9, said it helps her and her peers to realize that everybody leads in their own way.

Fifth-grader Sarah Frederick, 11, who is the student body leader, said one of the ways the program has influenced her is through the goal setting she has done.

Jack parent Brian Phillips said his sister teaches at a Lighthouse School in Louisiana. When it was time to decide where to send his son Jonathan, 5, to school, his sister and his wife, Dr. Michal Phillips, who is a physician, visited several area campuses before deciding on Jack.

“It’s interesting to see how much he’s developed in the past year,” Phillips, 40, an architect, said.

 

MOVING FORWARD

Ms. Hittle said the campus will continue to improve and has the tool set to monitor its progress.

The school has several community partners helping on the journey. These include Dayspring United Methodist Church, FRESH by Brookshire’s and The University of Texas at Tyler.

Through this Leader in Me leadership model, the students are gaining a set of tools for lifelong success, she said.

“There were a lot of great things from the beginning,” she said of the Jack campus, which opened in 2007. “What we did is just give kids credit for what we weren’t giving kids credit for before.”

She said that has helped to build the students’ confidence so they can persevere when facing challenges and accomplish things they might not have thought they could before.

Although Jack is Tyler ISD’s only Leader in Me Lighthouse school, Hubbard Middle School is set to begin the Leader in Me process this fall and Bell Elementary Global Communications Academy is in its second year of implementation, Ms. Hittle said.