Local school adopts Leader in Me initiative

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Our Lady of Lourdes French Immersion School has adopted the Leader in Me program.

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Vice-principal Nadia Zanatta said their school is only the second one to embrace the leadership process within the Huron Superior Catholic School Board. St. Basil’s in Sault Ste. Marie began the program six years ago.

“It aligns with our vision, the community outreach we do, the leadership opportunities that we give to our students so it really fit nicely into what we were already doing,” she said.

Zanatta said the program teaches foundational principles and skills that are widely accepted as being essential to personal leadership.

“It builds leadership and life skills in students. It creates a trusting school culture and lays the foundation for academic success.”

All staff at Our Lady of Lourdes have been training and preparing for the leadership program since last June with the help from a coach and mentor that will be available to the school for three years.

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The program was introduced to the students at a January school assembly. From now until June, students will be exposed to the seven habits so they will become part of their knowledge base. Year two will expand and build on that base.

Zanatta said she is part of the Lighthouse team which is comprised of various staff members that oversees the three components of leadership, culture and academics and come up with programming for school, facilitate activities and unroll the process.

Since the launch of the program and the many displays within the school, the vice-principal said, “the kids are very curious, they’re excited.”

As for what the initiative will mean to the school, Zanatta said, “This is really going to show the leadership abilities of our students because everyone has the capacity for leadership.”

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She said instead of the principal or Grade 8 student giving a school tour, a Grade 4 student will have the ability and confidence to provide one to a family.

“They all have the capabilities of doing it now and teaching them that the school experience encompasses the culture of the school, the leadership that you possess and that you build from and bringing in the academic success because when you feel confident and you enjoy coming to a place that you love… then you are going to be successful academically,” said Zanatta.

“Teaching the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People will have a huge impact on how we function as a school community and how students learn by empowering them to fully contribute to the school’s leadership culture,” said principal Stephane Prevost.


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“The energy that this is creating within our whole school, staff, students and families, is remarkable,” he said.

Lighthouse team coordinator Chantal Tellier said, “Even though we did our best to describe what’s to come, the students have no idea of ​​the impact that Leader in Me will have on our school environment. Every adult was given the skills to use, encourage and promote the 7 Habits in the Leader in Me process in order to have every child find their inner leadership skills.”

The Leader in Me program began in 1999 at AB Combs Elementary School in North Carolina when principal Muriel Summers decided to use FranklinCovey’s The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People and other educational best practices to help her failing school.


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Within a few years, the school experienced a significant turnaround and reported improved academic achievement, increased enrollment, soaring parent and teacher satisfaction, and higher levels of student self-confidence. Several other schools across the country replicated Summers’ leadership model and started to achieve similar results.

Based on demand from Summers and other educators, FranklinCovey codified Summers’ process, creating Leader in Me so that other schools could implement the same leadership model and achieve similar results.

According to its website, Leader in Me schools provide a framework to integrate highly effective practices throughout a school’s culture. Instead of focusing on academic measures alone, Leader in Me embodies a holistic approach to education, redefining how schools measure success.

This approach empowers educators with effective practices and tools to teach leadership to every student, create a culture of student empowerment, and align systems to drive results in academics.

Leader in Me has since been adopted by thousands of schools in more than 50 countries.

Photo suppliedStudents at Our Lady of Lourdes French Immersion School are excited about being involved in the Leader in Me program.
Photo suppliedStudents at Our Lady of Lourdes French Immersion School are excited about being involved in the Leader in Me program.


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