OMES prepares to teach leaders

Faculty and staff at OMES spent three days of their summer vacation preparing to implement the Leader in Me program this coming fall. (File)

Faculty and staff at OMES spent three days of their summer vacation preparing to implement the Leader in Me program this coming fall. (File)

By MOLLY DAVIDSON / Staff Writer

NORTH SHELBY—School is out for the summer, but teachers and staff at Oak Mountain Elementary School are still hard at work. From June 2-4, the OMES faculty and staff gave three days of their vacation to train and prepare to implement the Leader in Me program in the fall.

OMES will officially become a “Leader in Me” school this fall, integrating seven “habits” of leadership into the curriculum. Leader in Me schools draw from “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” by Stephen Covey and promote his leadership qualities among students: “Be Proactive,” “begin with the end in mind,” “put things first,” “think win-win,” “seek first to understand,” “synergize” and “sharpen the saw.”

“It’s been very much a cultural building couple of days,” OMES Principal Debbie Horton said. “It’s been a bonding experience. I’ve been so excited about the conversations that happened.”

Through exercises such as writing a personal mission statement and watching video clips from other Leader in Me schools, teachers and staff learned about Covey’s seven habits and how to implement them in classroom learning.

“It has truly given me a deeper understand of the habits and how they apply to my life,” OMES third grade teacher Lori Lancaster said of the three-day workshop.

Using Covey’s seven habits, Leader in Me schools teach students leadership qualities and help them grow as strong, independent learners and leaders, Horton explained.

“What we want for the kids in this community is a sustained capacity to be the best they can be,” Horton said. “What this is giving them are the tools and strategies to release whatever potential they have in them.”

The process to implement the Leader in Me program has been “a huge community effort,” Horton said, from a school-wide book study to local groups pitching in to provide support for the summer workshop. Local restaurants made breakfasts and lunches, and Meadowbrook Baptist Church provided free childcare over the three-day workshop.

Teachers expressed excitement about becoming a Leader in Me school and implementing the seven habits in the classroom.

OMES first grade teacher Cammie Eanes noted the focus on positivity and making good decisions in “that moment of choice” for each student.

“It’s empowering children to see their voices matter,” OMES second grade teacher Rosalyn Dixon said. “It really creates that team building. When they come into that classroom you show them how it’s a win-win.”