Brynn Andrus greets guests in the lobby of J.L. Bowler Elementary School where artist John Putnam painted a whimsical mural on the wall depicting the seven habits of leadership which the program ‘The Leader in Me’ helped the students develop during their 2016-17 school year. Photo by Teri Nehrenz

When you have a great school leader like Christopher Jenkins, you get classrooms full of eager young minds that are going to be trying a lot of new things, all of which will teach them to be better students, children and life participants.

Great leaders create great schools and a great school can change the trajectory of a child’s life.

JL Bowler Elementary is a great school that is changing lives.

The Leader in Me is one of the programs designed to put students on the path to greatness by putting to work the seven habits that form great leaders. This is the first year that Bowler has applied the program.

On May 25, students had a chance to show off the leadership habits they’ve learned to apply to their lives each and every day. Stations were set up for guests to visit with students manning the stations to talk about one of the seven principals of leadership and the ways that principal was applied to their school days.

Bowler Elementary School Student Council Member, Shaylee Sudweeks, is one of five student speakers who, on May 25, gave a speech, during the presentation of ‘The Leader in Me’ program about how they applied one of the seven habits of leadership in their daily lives and throughout their school year. Photo by Teri Nehrenz

Student council members gave short examples of how those habits, when applied, helped them in areas like studies, sports or their recent performance of the Jungle Book at the Smith Center for the Performing Arts.

The seven habits they discussed were: Be Proactive-You’re in charge; Begin with the end in mind-Have a plan; Put first things first-Work first, then play; Think win-win-Everyone can win; Seek first to understand, then to be understood-Listen before you talk; Synergize-Together is better and finally, sharpen the saw-Balance feels best.

The speeches were followed by a question and answer period. Parents, grandparents and friends asked questions to clarify some of the habits such as Sharpen the Saw. Sharpen the Saw, as it was explained by the students, means to take care of themselves by exercising, eating and sleeping right. They spend time with family and friends and find meaningful ways to help others and keep balance in their lives.

The Leader in Me program is designed with best-in-class content and concepts practiced by educational leaders. It provides a logical, sequential and balanced process to help schools proactively design the culture that reflects their vision of the ideal school.

The program applies content from the Seven Habits of Highly Effective People and is a key component of the process. The habits are universal and teach qualities such as responsibility, vision, integrity, teamwork and collaboration and renewal which are common to all people in all cultures.

On May 25 students at J.L. Bowler Elementary School participated in a question and answer period after the presentation of the ‘Leader in Me’ program to their parents and other family and friends. The program is one that the students have been applying to their daily lives throughout the 2016-17 school year which is intended to help them become better students and community members. Photo by Teri Nehrenz

The program also aligns itself to academic standards and helps promote success through critical thinking, goal setting, listening, speaking, self-directed learning, presentation and the ability to work in groups.

Since the program’s official launch in 2009, over 3,000 public, private, charter and magnet schools across 50 countries have adopted The Leader in Me program.