March 6, 2014

Local school hosts leadership symposium

March 6, 2014 Staff Writer Cydney Baron

PRYOR, OK — Cheering from Roosevelt Elementary School was the sign visiting teachers were catching some Leader in Me enthusiasm.

Roosevelt was chosen to host the Leader in Me Symposium Feb. 27, an honor the school has held before. Two Greyhound busloads of teachers stepped into Roosevelt to see the leadership training in action. The visiting teachers watched as students and their teachers got excited over attendance.

The students impressed with their “Be Proactive” cheer before teachers and students stormed the gym floor to sing the district-wide anthem “I am a champion, and you’re gonna hear me roar.”

The visiting educators toured Roosevelt’s new and old buildings, directing questions to student workers. Teachers from a four-state region attended.

Pryor High School’s Leadership Class was on hand lending some “big kid help,” opening doors, taking out trash, moving chairs and lending a hand wherever they were needed.

Even the high school students were impressed with program.

One student, Ryan Northcutt, offered to lead a group of teachers from the new building to the old and gave them his thoughts on the “district’s leadership paradigm” along the way.

“We’re leading the nation in high schools,” Northcutt said. “But I’m convinced we have a remarkable district all-around.”

Northcutt said he had no idea the Leader in Me program had impacted the younger students so profoundly.

“I am jealous, really, we didn’t have things like this when we were in elementary school. We’ve just had the Leader in Me program the past few years and I can see what a difference it’s made on us. I can’t wait to see what these kids become after having it all these years,” said Northcutt.

While he walked with the teachers, Northcutt gave them examples of the leadership roles younger students are given and the sense of responsibility it teaches them.

Leadership class teacher Evette Barham weighed in on the subject, saying, “Pryor Schools are above and beyond. We really have something special here.”

A group of teachers from Coweta Public Schools said, “it’s fresh and functional. It’s just great overall (Roosevelt’s building and curriculum,”

Another Oklahoma teacher, after touring Roosevelt’s new facility, told her friends, “I would absolutely love to teach here. I bet they love coming to work every day.”

An Arkansas teacher was most impressed by the school’s on-going Art Auction.

“This is such a great idea, and to use it as a fundraiser for art supplies is brilliant. It’s obvious these kids weren’t just told to make some art, this was part of their curriculum,” she said. “The kids are learning, having fun and taking responsibility for their school, you really couldn’t ask for more as a school system.”

Teachers were taking pictures and notes to take back to their own schools.

It wasn’t just Roosevelt that got some recognition at the symposium.

Students from Lincoln Elementary School helped out during the first half of the event. They worked as greeters and performed for the assembled faculty.

Pryor High School’s leadership class participated in a round-table discussion on the Leader in Me program.

Pryor Schools were chosen as an exemplary model from those participating in the Leader in Me program based on Stephen Covey’s  book “Seven Habits for Highly Effective People.”

For students and faculty, the habits have been adapted to: be proactive, begin with the end in mind, put first things first, think win-win, seek first to understand then to be understood, synergize and sharpen the saw.

These philosophies carry over to everything a student, or teacher, does in Pryor Schools from health and wellness initiatives to community outreach to students taking accountability for their own learning. The result has been fewer disciplinary issues and students becoming more actively engaged in their own learning.


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