Hebron Middle taking lead role in leadership

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By Stephen Thomas

 HEBRON ESTATES - A good leadership program needs good leaders. Hebron Middle School is stepping into that position.

The school is inviting all community members to a special event, a free dinner and lecture on its newest program, "The Leader In Me."

Principal Steve Miracle praised the program designed to improve school culture, increase the staff's efforts and promote student self-responsibility. He credited assistant principal Kelland Garland for introducing the program to Hebron.The Leader In Me is based on "The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People," originally presented by Stephen Covey. His son, Franklin Covey, worked with Nolan Marx to reintroduce the concept to a younger student-based audience.

"It basically improves habits in students' lives," said Miracle. "We're building leadership potential within our classrooms and community. It's empowering for our students, something they can take beyond school and contribute to the community."

Miracle travelled with 10 Hebron staff members to Bowling Green in the spring. The group attended a symposium on The Leader In Me and visited area schools that have implemented the program.

"They had snow days when we visited," Miracle recalled. "But students and teachers came anyway to present to us. That shows the importance of this program."

Miracle referred to The Leader In Me as more process than program, beginning with training teachers to implement strategies into existing curricula.

"In history class, or Social Studies, you'll discuss an important figure and their decisions," Miracle said. "Students will determine which of the Seven Habits were used and why. It's a deeper way to go into the current content."

All Hebron faculty members have visited schools currently implementing The Leader In Me. Miracle said each was more passionate about the program as they witnessed its effects.

"When you get to a school you're greeted by the students," he said. "They give the tours. At the symposium there were fifth graders giving speeches to an international audience. You're more passionate when you see what it can do."

Miracle said the Hebron staff will be fully-trained by the end of July. From there program strategies will become intertwined with daily lesson plans.

Hebron received a funding grant from the I Am A Leader Foundation to help establish the program. The one-year grant includes a second-year option.

Miracle said Hebron could spread the grant over three to five years, noting that expenses should be less in the second year once the program is in place.

To guarantee program success, Miracle stressed that the school alone could not make it work, but the community needed to become involved as well.

Marx will be the guest speaker at the dinner, helping to explain the program's process and benefits, along with success stories. Over 1,600 have implemented The Leader In Me, with 91 declared as "Lighthouse Schools."

"Our goal is to acheive the Lighthouse status in three years," Miracle said. "That is where we need to be."

The dinner will allow the community an opportunity to determine how it can help, from businesses to school and community support. Hebron personally invited area businesses and leaders to attend the event.

"You will get a deeper understanding of the program," Miracle said. "You'll hear real-life successes, and what is required and why community support is vital, that's the only way to get it done."

The principal said the free dinner would serve as a fundraising event, with donations accepted. However, the true intent of the event is community awareness.

"The community benefits from the long-term investment," Miracle said. "We want to present the program and our needs. If the community members want to help, they can determine how or what kind of help."

Dinner will include lasagna made by Hebron counselor Martha Squires and paid for by Miracle.

"We hope to get the community here and involved," Miracle said. "The more involved, the less pressure there is on each community member. We hope to open doors for other schools to eventually get involved in this program."

The Leader In Me free dinner event at Hebron Middle School will take place Thursday, May 29, at 6 p.m. For more information call 869-4200 or email Garland at kellen.garland@bullitt.kyschools.us.

For more information on The Leader In Me program visit theleaderinme.org.