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Leadership In Focus

PRINCE EDWARD – Can leaders be developed in the elementary school.

Yes.

Longwood University Business School Dean Paul Barrett part of a tag-team presentation outlined an interest in bringing a leadership program to the County's elementary school and offered a video presentation at the April school board meeting. The Leader-In-Me program, successful in other areas, aims to develop leadership, accountability, adaptability, initiative and self-direction, cross-cultural skills, responsibility, problem solving, communication, creativity and teamwork.

The school-wide process is for students and staff, utilizing The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People as a foundational piece. The program has been taken into about 600 elementary schools, most of which are in the U.S.

“The results are amazing,” Dean Barrett said.

Dean Barrett detailed that Longwood (a client partner with the author of the program) has embarked on doing the program in an elementary school in the Commonwealth and that full implementation takes three years.

“…Schools that have implemented this program have seen improvement with test scores, increased student confidence, and development of life skills such as planning and taking responsibility,” he stated.

Children tend to impact their families, it was noted, and families tend to impact the community.

“…Will the Leader-In-Me solve all the problems? Absolutely not. Is it some magic pill? No, it's not. But as you heard in the video, schools have realized measured, positive results,” Dean Barrett said.

He noted that they wanted to expose the school board to the program, let them know they're doing it out of Longwood and “just to kind of create an interest.”

“…The program does cost money,” Dean Barrett told the board. “The campaign we're in is about $100,000 to do the three-year program in one elementary school.”

He noted that they are not asking for money and that they have a $30,000 pledge from a Longwood alumni.

“…If you know an organization that would want to sponsor a program like this-or just make sure they take a look at it and understand it's something you want to do, we certainly have a vested interest,” Dean Barrett said. “We live just down the road and if it was…up to me-it's not-I would make sure that the elementary school in this county would want to get in the pool.”

It is an application process, he detailed, that is filtered, not by Longwood.

Dean Barrett noted that all freshman students attending Longwood's Business School get the 7 Habits training for college students, the faculty and staff have had it and they're doing it across campus, with the authorization of the president's office.

School Board Chairman Russell Dove said he “definitely” thinks it would be a worthwhile program for them to look at. He noted that he participated in the 7 Habits training at Longwood.

Dove would note that they always should be looking for opportunities in partnership.

In Other News…

*The school board recognized the high school's Medford basketball team, which won first place in the regular season and was the runner-up in the championship game against Meadowbrook.

*The school board set their year-end closeout meeting (the last of the fiscal year) on Monday, June 25 at 5:30 p.m.

*School Board member Dr. Ellery Sedgwick congratulated the high school on the improvement of their attendance record. The school achieved a 94 percent attendance, which has not happened since 2005.

*A sub-committee of the school board was set to review some teacher evaluations drawn at random. The committee will include Dr. Sedgwick, Harriett Fentress and Linda Leatherwood.

*The board effectively tabled action on the program of studies for the county's high school. Action is expected at the May meeting. The board also postponed action on the code of conduct for all three schools.

*School board members approved the local plan for career and technical education. The plan had been presented as a non-action agenda item in March.

*The school board approved a lengthy list of revisions to the Virginia School Boards Association policy manual. The revisions are based on changes in law and regulations.

*School Board members were presented the special education plan and annual report as a non-action agenda item for 2012-13. Grant funding for 2011-12 totaled $672,814. School officials are seeking the same amount of funds (which is subject to approval at the state level); the majority of the funds will be used for salaries and fringe benefits and the cost of providing transportation. Funds will also be used to provide outside purchased services, training and professional development, transition services, materials and supplies for teachers, staff and students as needed for intervention, discipline, alternative testing and inclusion, transition and for the special education advisory committee.

In addition, the school is set to receive $19,722 to pay part of the salary and fringes for one early childhood special education teacher.

The school board is expected to approve the plan and report at their May meeting.

*School board members were given a lengthy presentation on a self-insurance option. Whether they will pursue it or not, however, is still to be determined.