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As a parent, I see a lot of instructional time being taken away for preparing for leadership days exactly as you mention above , we have to go out and buy new clothes because they are expected to dress up on these days, and I know that LiM events take time away from the school day. I appreciate you taking the time to offer your perspective here — the response has been slow to this post, and I have found very little elsewhere online that is critical of the program in any way, so I hope we are providing some kind of resource to help schools make an informed decision when thinking about moving forward with this program.

Perhaps the site council of the school needs to present these concerns to administration. Be specific. Be kind. But be honest. Once again, it appears the implementation has become problematic. The tail is wagging the dog. There is a strong delusion upon the earth right now…. This one is no different. They along with many of their classmates the ones who still think for themselves are quite exasperated with the indoctrination and how their teachers have become more like police than ones who would help our children learn. The worst is that every time the principal sends out any correspondence to parents, she makes sure she slips in every.

I am also disappointed because this same principal is so busy trying to get the school to the semblance of this standard that she is neglecting her own children in the process. That quest for greatness? It comes at a price. I guess one would have to choose what is worth the sacrifice. Overall, though in theory, the 7 Habits are good principles by which to live, this whole thing really, really creeps me out. I thought they were too young to understand things like that but they have managed to figure it all out on their own, and I would venture to bet they are not the only ones.

Thank you for adding to the conversation. You have just explained exactly what every teacher Iour school has been saying for two years! However our principal is so caught up in this he will not seek first to understand but is determined to reach his goal. His goal! The teachers I work with are the best group of women I know and we all take our job seriously.

But, now we are being turned into robots for this insanely expensive pyramid scheme. By the way our standardized test scores have fallen to the lowest in the county. We have always been at the top. It is very sad that implementing this program has caused such a dramatic change. And the morale of the teachers is at an all time low. We love our kids but who has time to teach when we are always preparing for a dog and pony show!

Your principal may not realize that the only way this or any other school wide strategy works is with percolation. Support must come from the staff, if imposed it or any other school wide program is doomed to failure. However, it is not the only game in town. Schools should research such programs carefully and staff should determine whether or not to proceed.

The it becomes the job of the principal to find the resources and support the staff in their efforts. We have shifted to teach TLIM. Our next step is to present to parents. I will say it does seem cult-ish and I am aware of how the program is working to make Covey money. I feel like we will bankrupt our program if we do not get away from it. I would like to have another program to present. My boss is totally bought in and I honestly think I might lose my position at the very least if I challenge her too much.

If I had a logical replacement I would get a better result. An alternative you may want to look at is RedCritter Teacher www. It gives teachers the tools to give frequent positive recognition to students through digital achievements. I can appreciate your views and I see how you might see things this way. This is our opportunity to do all of that. Building 21st century learners is more than academics — it is deeper thinking, problem solving, working with others, confidence, and having a voice.

The things we do through LIM and it sounds like you guys are doing them all are teaching our students these skills! It is more work — but we also have to remember that it should be student driven — so if as adults we are taking over to make what could be a small and effective service project into something larger and only do-able by adults — I think we are missing the true picture of why we are doing the service project.

I am also a teacher whose school is LIM. I totally agree with everything you are saying! It produces a ton of extra work for teachers,and I have not seen the benefit of the program. I also do not like the fact that I am forced to practice the habits and come up with a personal WIG wildly important goal and share my personal information with students during a weekly meeting. It takes away from instruction and I am not seeing the rewards. Thank you for the original post! I have been wanting to voice my opinion for some time now. Most of the teachers at my school feel the same way I do.

I am very frustrated with the program. I just hate that all this time and money are being wasted in the meantime. That is obscene. I am so disheartened that our Captain Queeg has decided to spend out limited funding in this manner. There are so many other things could directly affect students that would benefit from such an influx.

Thanks for contributing, Nom. The fact that people feel they have to post anonymously is a sign that something is fishy. I appreciate you sharing your thoughts. My school has had big issues with sharing leadership roles amongst teachers. Young inexperienced teachers were sent to observe a lighthouse school and make recommendations.

They were dazzled but had little data to support its effectiveness. We spent a year implementing the habits but were looking for more resources. The infighting has begun over who is on the lighthouse committee -same damn people picked for everything. It is not a very transparent program.

Several of us have wondered when we will be called in for a shave! I am very happy to have come across this website. Our school is a brand-new Leader in Me school. The program is being rolled out this year. While it does sound like a wonderful program, I do have some concerns.


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I am on the PTO board at my school and we are pretty worried about the cost of this program. We generally do well with our fundraising and we support many things at our school. My concern is that all of our fundraising will now be expected go towards this program. I worry that that will, in turn, affect our fundraisers and thus, affect the programs we have funded for our children for many years.

It will be interesting to see how parents will respond to this program when it is officially rolled out. As the principal of a Leader in Me Lighthouse school, I feel compelled to comment on this topic. There are many comments listed throughout this blog that I do agree with. However, there are comments that draw concern as well. I have seen many initiatives come and go throughout my time in education, and this is one that I hope will continue to stick. I also understand that with any initiative there will be parts of it that may not. We have been implementing Leader in Me for 5 years now and have made several adjustments along the way.

However, I strongly believe that the principles behind the Leader in Me are here to stay. I often refer to a poem I once shared with my teachers about buzzards and bees, each finding what they seek. The buzzard finds stinky dead things, while the bee finds sweetness. It depends on what you want to see. There are positives and negatives with any initiative and there are certainly more positives with the Leader in Me than the negatives in my opinion.

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The Art and Craft of Pedagogy: Portraits of Effective Teachers

I have seen our school embrace leadership in kids that never happened before. I have seen students take ownership of their learning that did not happen before. I have seen students come out of their shell to do great things. I have seen a deaf and hard of hearing student lead guests throughout our building with confidence through an interpreter. I have seen a student with a reading disability take on a leading role in a play. I have seen a student with a speech disability lead morning meeting. Perhaps we should have been able to promote this kind of culture prior to the Leader in Me, but it certainly has developed and grown since the initial implementation of it.

I do agree that the cost is ridiculous, but there are a lot of things that can be implemented without spending a dime. However, on the other hand, there are some things that are priceless. Reaching students in a way when other initiatives failed is invaluable. Thank you so much for this thoughtful reply. I wonder if you can elaborate a little more on your experience as a principal. Can you pinpoint what it is about the Leader in Me program that has produced these results? My understanding is that a large portion of the cost goes toward training for staff.

During the training we hear a lot about private victories. We continue our training opportunities throughout the year with booster sessions during our faculty meetings led by our teachers at no cost who were part of the original training along with mentoring and observing throughout the year. With that being said, I will refer to my original post that I agree with the disheartening of the cost associated with it. However, every year I find myself a bit frustrated with the cost to educate kids in general.

It seems every computer program, textbook, website license, etc.


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In regards to the LIM, I feel blessed to be associated with our Chamber of Commerce and the community we live in who backed the initiative. They have supported us by paying for our training. They see a direct correlation between what the LIM is doing in the classroom and how it is going to impact the workforce at a later time. There is a slide I have shared with my staff and parents that includes what parents and business leaders want: Independence — goal setting, organization, time management, and planning Habits ; Interdependence — teamwork, conflict management, creativity, and analytical skill Habit ; Renewal — fun, desire to learn, good health Habit 7.

I often say good teaching is good teaching no matter how you package it. As one of the earlier posters stated, a lot of what the LIM is about was already taking place and now finds a new life. It was good then and it is good now.

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I have collaborated with teacher friends from a neighboring district who have attended our Leadership Days and see how there are things that can be implemented without any cost. That is what we do. We read blogs, books, listen to speakers and find ways to implement strong, proven strategies into our own classroom making it our own. Being new to the building, I was constantly pulled out of my classroom for training in LIM. I have no opposition to the 7 Habits and think they are wonderful lessons to teach all students. I would feel differently if there was independent research supporting LIM, but all evidence is published by Steven Covey and majority of it is anecdotal.

I am in a new building this year in the same district with the same grade level and socioeconomic population of students, but the building I am in now uses PBIS which is research based. The atmosphere between the two buildings is shocking; last year the students were rude, entitled, and had no respect for adults working in the building. This year the students are kind and courteous and I could not be happier where I am now.


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I should also note that I teach special education to students with emotional impairments and Autism and have found that LIM is a waste of time for my students because it is far too abstract for them. Consider it staff development that focuses on 21st century skills, data driven decision making, professional learning communities, response to intervention, project based learning and social-emotional learning. These are all trends in education that a school could spend in isolated professional development.

Whereas, TLIM provides a framework that puts it all together. By the way, not only are these trends in staff development but they are also the expectations in teacher evaluations now. Thank you all for your insight regarding this program. As a parent, and school board member, I became interested in this program but wanted to do some research on it before asking the administrative team to consider it. The responses above have given me much more information, both positive and negative, to consider.

Thanks for your time, and for your dedication to our children. My soon to be released expose will document over two years of exhaustive research both anecdotal and statistical which will clearly show why this program does not belong in the public schools of this country. In addition even more pervasive is an embrace of traditional right wing religiosity non LDS. The Fourth Amendment is also summarily trampled in this process. The program creates an almost cult-like atmosphere in schools that seriously embrace it Many subscribing schools only superficially implement TLIM and many across the country have dropped it altogether.

Pick schools from every corner of the U. Kindergarteners are taught to use words like proactive and synergize when they can rarely have any real understanding of what those words actually mean and certainly not from where they originate. The cost of this program is exorbitant. Even if we could somehow get past the constitutional issues, schools and communities are paying millions of dollars to FranklinCovey for something they could do for little or no money.

The cost of the program for the average school for a three year period is 75, dollars or more. Though FranklinCovey maintains its separation from the foundation the distinction is wholly technical. Foundation funds are primarily derived from an approximate 4 million dollar annual donation from the Panda Express Company. In addition FranklinCovey stock before TLIM was selling for pennies a share and is now pushing twenty dollars per share with an expert predicted target of twenty-six dollars.

These leadership events often consume the entire day of instruction and require weeks of class time and practice so that come show time the kids are all singing and dancing the company line in an effort to woo prospective administrators, parents and teachers from other schools.

If schools can just recruit enough new members they will not have to be out any money of their own. This, of course, is the tactic used by virtually all network marketers. As of this date there exists NO peer reviewed quantitative research to support the efficacy of this program. The little extant anecdotal research is highly subjective and marginal at best.

Due to my research FranklinCovey has now pulled from its website and literature any claims of academic improvement as a result of TLIM. The one attempt at bona fide research out of Western Kentucky University failed miserably as it was flawed from the outset with groups designed to yield favorable results for TLIM. Even with the skewed control group the research showed zero impact of the program even on its now stated main goal of character education! You will not find FranklinCovey saying much about this research however! Finally, though high sounding and seemingly innocuous, the seven habits themselves bear close scrutiny.

It sounds good for the most part to be proactive, begin with the end in mind, think win-win, seek first to understand then be understood, synergize and sharpen the saw BUT are these the be all end all habits we ALL must adhere to? Being proactive and planning is good but often some of our best leaders are those who are able to react quickly when things do not go as planned. Courage and spontaneity are traits often left out here.

In the real world there are often clear winners and clear losers and we do a disservice to kids when we lead them to believe otherwise. We would do well to teach them how to be good losers and good winners. It is also important to listen to others but we also need to learn the importance of speaking up and standing your ground. Teamwork synergy , yes, good to learn but many of our greatest leaders, artists, scholars and craftsmen eschew teamwork preferring instead to work in solitude.

These are but snippets of the volume of work I have amassed on this project. A more comprehensive document with detailed support will be forthcoming during late Anyone wishing further information please feel free to call or email. Donnie, thank you for taking the time to share this detailed list of concerns. I think these are worthwhile considerations for anyone looking into the LIM program. I still feel the 7 Habits have merit; no, they are not everything and anything kids should be taught, but many of the same principles helped me succeed in school, work, and in my interpersonal relationships not in this specific format, but the ideas in general.

I see the Think win-win habit as an ideal to uphold when resolving conflicts, not in situations where competition is the primary focus. The pyramid stuff, though? I have 2 children who attend a school who is a Leader In Me School. My son is in 5th grade and my daughter in 3rd. My son is very burnt out by the program mainly due to the fact that is was pushed on them all at once and they went from one day being a normal day to the next doing the leader in me stuff.

He said he hates how everything in the school is leader this and leader that and the repetitive language. There is a hall leader, lunch leader, book leader etc. He gets annoyed. However there are good things that come out of it as well. Our school has lead groups that the kids attend they range from knitting hats for the needy to staying fit.

The students lead everything in the school like assemblies which helps with public speaking and confidence. One thing I was not happy with was student lead conferences. I want to hear from the teacher on how my child is doing not from my child. We sit down to dinner at the table every night and talk I know how my children think they are doing and what they think they need help with, I want to know what the teachers think.

Until reading this stuff about the cult like behavior I never looked at it that way but can see how some might. I do not think however that the leader in me program or the school will reverse the impact on the values I teach my children and that our Christian faith and attending church has given them.

They know that the Bible is the most important book. I think all in all it is a good program. Jo, I forgot about the conferences! We basically get nothing out of them, and I feel like an important opportunity to get to know the teacher is completely lost. Matter of fact, Franklin Covey assists in a three year roll out. I have to agree with Donnie about the Pyramid stuff; Its not always what is presented, what is bad, it is the more classes, the pressure put on the ones selling it, and the teachers, staff, and kids to do more, in this case for light house status..

Every time another one hits my desk its PTSD all over again. Everyone wants to empower our school now Leader in Me is a year long money making. Not sure why the Pastor above likes it. Very Worldly. Thank you for allowing this discussion. I previously had my son in one of the best performing arts schools in the country….

Furthermore, my son was bullied…severely. In his last month there he was physically assaulted twice…and they did nothing about it. We actually moved and did a hardship waiver to get him into a Leader in me school…. Strange concept for a parent who only saw miserable kids on every tour I took. He actually likes school…. The kids are all taught to get along…despite any differences…novel concept, eh? He also talks about the 7 habits so much that he begged me to buy the book for home. He now talks about making goals for himself and treating everyone with respect. He thinks before he acts…he listens before he wants to be listened to….

Btw, Donnie Wilkerson…are you serious? That comment alone discredits every single word you wrote. I hope people do their own research about this before believing anything you have to say…. I assume that you are a parent who has watched a child go through this program with your comments regarding a kindergartner not being able to understand. Or are you a teacher that has implemented the program and seen it impact kids? I think if you have real experience as a parent or as a teacher teaching this, that you have every reason to make your comments.

If not, they are simply unwarranted. You are an outsider looking in. As a parent of 3 children, I have seen such a positive impact in our school and home life. I have seen my kids make better decisions and do better in school because of this program. This is speaking coming from a school that did NOT have a leader in me school to a leader in me school. As a parent who has a LOT of concerns about what goes on in schools, this is not one of them. I really have to address this one issue. There is an old urban legend about a self- aggrandizing sea captain that thought his ship was on a collision course with another ship.

He ordered the ship to move out of his way since the person he was speaking to was a lower rank than him. People move, things move, ideas move but lighthouse principles do not move. Paradigm shifts occur with every generation but lighthouse principles stand strong. Coming to understand this and realizing that our children are very capable of applying these principles to their lives is a huge paradigm shift for the educational community. I am glad they are making the effort. I am very happy for the positive experience your son has experienced with Leader in Me.

As with any program that has had millions of dollars thrown its way some good will come. Our classroom slogan, very simple,. Certainly we are all winners in some context of life, love and happiness. Further more I believe that our kids are better, too! Apparently your son has experienced some of that value, love and respect at his current school and for that I am truly pleased. I will venture to guess, though, that it is more the people than the program responsible for that kindness! Our kids daily engage in activities, ball games, and competitions of all types and, yes, usually there are clear victories and clear losses!

But I stand behind my comment that we should also be realistic with our kids! In the real world most will face, indeed in their very own scholastic world now, scores are kept. My point was that it is more important to put those wins and losses, those scores, in perspective and to make sure our kids know how to handle them. Cooperation and compromise are certainly tools we need to model and teach but realism and kindness are at least equally as important. I challenge you to dig deeper into this program and its purveyors.

Similar schools, A-W and more are also exposed in my research!! Is there some good to come from this program or its espoused habits? My students read and analyze primary source documents, examine artifacts of the Taino, read works by Native authors, eat actual period food and drink from their culture and go on Saturday trips with me to places of historic note to better understand this REAL world in which they live.

I look forward to a dialogue with you and would truly love to hear more of your thoughts. Have a great and kind day,. You slant all your research and facts the way you want them to be seen. I guarantee there are those of other faiths which work there and are also engaged in their religious communities.

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Since when is it a bad thing for a person to have faith in God and not hide it? It does not refer to winning a prize or trophy. Win-win mentality refers to working together in order to complete a task, make a change, etc. For instance, two people are working on a project and each has an idea they believe is amazing. I would like to respond to Mr. First, I wholeheartedly agree that children should be taught the values embedded in the 7 Habits, as these are unarguably characteristics of successful people.

Children will have a much higher chance of being successful in life if they have been taught to be proactive, to get along with others, etc. I also agree that these principles are here to stay, because all teachers who care about their students and I feel safe to say that describes the majority of teachers have been teaching their students these principles since the beginning of formal education.

As to the poem about buzzards and bees… well… unless I misread your intent I was a bit hurt that I was being referred to as a buzzard! I sincerely love my job and my elementary-aged students, and I do my best to teach them and make their classroom a safe place for them to learn both the subjects they need to know and also things like self-discipline, self-control, and responsibility.

Buzzards have an important job! There are many positive things about both my school and school system. Sadly, the LiM program is not one of them. It may be at your school, and that is wonderful. But it is not at my school. At my school, it is all a show. Teachers are already overwhelmed with the necessary tasks that come with the job — new Common Core standards, a new math series that has been difficult to adjust to, ACT and Aspire testing, and the day-to-day trials of difficult students and parents.

All teachers know it is hard, some years more than others, to juggle all of these balls and keep them all in the air. Then we were offered a program and were told it would give astonishing results with little to no extra work… but once we accepted, we found ourselves drowning in a sea of extra responsibilities. I was on the original Lighthouse team. I went to the original training. I got all the books and manuals. And I was excited because I thought it would really help our school.

I thought our kids would be like the kids on all the videos, who stand up in front of crowds of strangers and carefully articulate how they found the leaders in themselves. I thought that would be a great accomplishment if we could get our kids to that point. But our kids are not to that point. I am going to be very honest, and I hate that I have to post anonymously. Teachers have tried, but the extra work is too much and our kids are no better for it.

The kids who were already leaders, are leaders, and the kids who were not leaders, are still not leaders, although maybe some are a bit more proactive than they were originally. They will see an awesome LiM school, striving to reach Lighthouse status. But that was not true. It was a lie and all of the extras are stealing time away that I could be teaching my kids what they need to know — what is in the state course of study and I am required by law to teach them.

The LiM program, from my experience, is not about creating leaders. The LiM program is about making money. If the heart of the Franklin Covey company was focused on helping create leaders, they would not have attached the price tags that they have attached onto these slogans, books, workbooks, training sessions, posters, and banners. Furthermore, I am sure you have heard the names Muriel Summers and A. Combs Elementary School. We were told the story of how the school was struggling, how Ms.

Summers attended a seminar that inspired her to work with the Covey company to bring the 7 Habits to children, and how this program turned the poor, failing school around into the success story it is today. Apparently A. And that is what I was led to believe was happening at A. Combs and what the LiM program helped resolve. My question is — why twist the truth?? I think you know the answer to that as well as I do.

I thought it was just a one-time thing but was sorely disappointed to learn we have to do this every year! So yes, it definitely sounds like a pyramid scheme.

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I do not know if our visitors have to pay to come see us… but I went to a LiM symposium where I listened to guest speakers and toured two LiM schools on their Leadership Day, and my school paid my way. Reserve me a copy of your book, Donnie! He definitely needs to read it, because he has bought this whole LiM thing hook, line, and sinker. Thanks for your contribution. Your description of all the behind-the-scenes work that goes into a perfect Leadership Day is disheartening, and sadly, I think it will ring true with many teachers at LiM schools.

I remember touring a LiM school myself and being SO impressed by the poise of the children, by the nice-looking leadership notebooks, and the overall pride everyone seemed to show in their school. To impress visitors. It worked on me and lots of the other people I toured with. You sound like you care deeply about your students and you will work hard at whatever task your administrator sets before you. My guess is that one important move would be to invite teachers to have an honest conversation about their concerns, assuring them that you really want to know what their experience has been and whether they are seeing true benefits in student learning, behavior, and self-efficacy as a result of this program.

If their response is consistent with the experiences you describe here, what then? Is it possible to keep the baby but throw out the bathwater? Continue to teach the habits, set goals, track progress and provide leadership opportunities without the dog and pony show? Or does Lighthouse status come with a set of promises schools are contractually bound to keep? A comment and a thought. You mention a lot of typing up of this and that, practicing, etc.

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Can the students step up and do some of this work themselves? They can rehearse their presentations at home. I find that not all the bells and whistles of a program are necessary to gain the benefits. Well said, Len! Those that struggle with making the process work in a real and rewarding manner have not gone past the first three habits themselves. They are stuck at a dependent level, waiting to be told how and when to do everything. They burn themselves out. In my school system, the elementary schools and middle school went through the 7 Habits training.

My school is different because as far as I can tell, my principal was the one who pushed the system to adopt it. He was even being paid at one point not sure if he still does to go to different school systems in our area and train their staff. He asked us to vote on accepting the original program but nobody got a say in whether or we tried to get Lighthouse status. I know as long as he is the principal we will keep on with the LiM but when he retires, I doubt we will do much with it anymore. And another poster here said something a while back about her school trying out the program and then being given Lighthouse status.

I am a middle school teacher. Our feeder elementary school started the Covey program several years ago. At District-wide meetings, teachers were shown videos of the elementary children reciting and signing the 7 Habits. The District leadership praised this superficial display as evidence of a great program. About five years ago, the program came to my school. We learned the habits. We made posters. We used the terminology. Three years ago, we started the Leader program, with the training, the terminology, the Lighthouse Committee, and signs around the school.

We are wasting time, resources, and energy on a program that does not improve the things that are wrong with my school. It is very frustrating. The administrators have bought into the program.