Shanklin, M.C. Riley Achieve Elite Status With International ‘Lighthouse School’ Honor

By Contributor: Bradley Stanley

BEAUFORT – Two Beaufort County elementary schools have earned international recognition for the quality of their student leadership programs based on the best-selling book “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.”

Joseph S. Shanklin and Michael C. Riley elementary schools were granted “Lighthouse School” status by Franklin Covey Co, the worldwide consulting and training group that works with businesses and other institutions to improve performance.  Covey wrote “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People,” and the book’s leadership principles have been adapted for young children and used to guide schools in developing Leader in Me educational programs in more than 150 countries.

Of 3,153 Leader in Me schools worldwide, only 355 have achieved Lighthouse status after being evaluated and approved by a review team from Franklin Covey Co.

Joseph S. Shanklin and M.C. Riley are the second and third district schools to earn Lighthouse status.  Coosa Elementary, the district’s first “Leader in Me” school, achieved the designation in 2016.

“Joseph S. Shanklin’s Leader in Me program has been in place for five years, and M.C Riley’s has been in place for four years,” said Superintendent Jeff Moss.  “It’s very impressive for both schools to earn Lighthouse status so quickly, and this prestigious recognition is a high-profile validation of their hard work.  Our students are the big winners, though, because they’re reaping the benefits of this innovative approach to learning.”

The Leader in Me program incorporates ideas from a variety of sources on leadership, education and effective social and emotional interaction. Students set goals, track data and assume leadership roles.  Advocates say students become self-reliant, take initiative, plan ahead, set and track goals, do their homework, prioritize their time, manage their emotions, be considerate of others, express their viewpoints persuasively, resolve conflicts, find creative solutions, value differences and live balanced lives.

M.C. Riley Principal Adrienne Sutton and Joseph S. Shanklin Principal Celeste LaVan said that evidence of their schools’ commitment to the Leader in Me can be seen throughout the day:

  • Starting with morning meetings with students and continuing throughout the day, teachers and staff incorporate the “7 Habits” throughout the instruction day and in all areas of school operations.
  • Students are taught how to create and progress monitor their individual academic and personal goals.  The process is modeled for students by faculty and staff members who have their own personal and professional goals.
  • All students maintain leadership notebooks to showcase their goals, leadership opportunities and celebrations.
  • Students’ personal goals – along with school-wide academic goals in reading, math and leadership – are called WIGs (Wildly Important Goals)
  • Parents get involved by attending workshops where they learn how they can help their children to achieve their personal goals.
  • Local business partners assist the school in developing and maintaining the Leader in Me program.

The Lighthouse designation is given to schools that have demonstrated the following:

  • The campus environment reinforces the leadership model by displaying leadership language that emphasizes individual worth and potential in hallways and classrooms.
  • Teachers integrate leadership language into school curriculum and instruction.
  • Staff collaborates and works together to effectively build a culture of leadership.
  • Students are provided with meaningful student leadership roles and responsibilities, such as mentor, public speaker, school tour guide and greeter.
  • Parents are given opportunities to learn the Leader in Me model and the 7 Habits and are involved in activities that support the leadership model.
  • Systems are in place to set and track schoolwide, classroom and personal goals.
  • Leadership events are held to allow students to practice their leadership skills (public speaking, sharing data, confident greetings, etc.) with community business partners, parents and other educators.
  • The school leadership team meets regularly and oversees school-wide implementation of the leadership model with the help of students, staff, parents and community members.
  • Measureable improvements in teacher engagement, parent satisfaction, student behavior and academic alignment are shown by comparing baseline data with the tracking of ongoing data.


Press Release by: Jim Foster

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