The Leader in Me ™

What is The Leader In Me™?

The Leader In Me is a framework for creating a positive school culture with the twin pillars of leadership and personal responsibility as its focal points. At its root it is based on teaching children the timeless principles of success from Steven Covey’s Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. We know there are common features that unite truly successful people and that set them apart from people who are not successful. By teaching children from an early age to be leaders of their own lives and that they are responsible for determining their effectiveness as students and people, we will be providing our children with the mindset and skill set needed to be successful in our dynamic, ever-changing society. Through the use of The Leader In Me at the elementary level, students will develop a district-wide common vocabulary and set of expectations that will set them on the path to success.

Why do children need to learn and practice these habits?

In order for students to be successful in today’s society, we need to do more than focus on success as measured by standardized test scores. While we know that high achievement on accountability measures is important, we also know that students need much more to reach their full potential in school and in life. Far too many of our young people are leaving school ill prepared to deal with the challenges of post secondary education or the world of work. Many of our students are even electing to drop out of school before graduating from high school. Studies cite a number of factors that contribute to students disengaging from school. By instilling in students at a young age the power they have as individuals to be leaders of their own lives, they will have the tools necessary to face the challenges presented in school and in life.

Aren’t kids too young to learn these principles?

Many of our children learn the principles of effectiveness from an early age by watching parents or other family members. However, many of our young people today either do not have positive role models or miss the message they receive by observing them. With The Leader In Me we are no longer leaving these critical life skills to chance. We are explicitly instructing students through the curriculum what we know they will need to be effective. Kids are not too young to learn how to think before they act, how to set goals and have a plan to achieve them, how to prioritize, how to work with others, and how to maintain balance in life. These are just a few of the important lessons students internalize as a result of The Leader In Me.

How are my kids going to be different because of this initiative?

All children will benefit from The Leader In Me as they gain confidence in their ability to effectively lead their own lives through better decision making, mutual respect for others, being held accountable for achieving goals, problem solving together with peers, and prioritizing. In addition to improving the effectiveness of individuals, groups, classrooms, schools, and the district as a whole will be better learning environments as the interconnected parts at each level work in a complementary fashion toward common goals and objectives.

What are the long-term goals?

The long-term goals for The Leader In Me are to have all students develop leadership capacity and personal responsibility by practicing the seven habits in their lives on a daily basis. Benefits also include improved school attendance, fewer discipline referrals, and common vocabulary and expectations for all students regardless of the school they attend. In addition to the improved behavioral components to the school day, academic benefits will accrue as teachers have more time to focus on rigorous instruction that is challenging for all learners. Schools across the nation that have implemented The Leader In Me have seen long-term benefits in both student attitudes and student achievement.

How can I support The Leader In Me?

Community support is vital to maintaining the great schools we have in Muscatine. This takes on increased importance when implementing a new initiative such as The Leader In Me. We encourage you to take the information shared today and communicate it to your friends and colleagues in Muscatine and elsewhere. Continue asking questions and providing feedback when presented with the opportunity. If you have children, grandchildren, or know students who attend any of our elementary schools, ask them questions about how The Leader In Me is going and if they are learning how to be leaders. As always, if you would like to find ways to get involved directly at the building level, feel free to contact the building principal and share your ideas with him/her.

More information can be found in the Muscatine Magazine, the District Report Card, and online at

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