School district uses successful leader program

SCOTT CITY, MO (KFVS) - Is a leader born or made? Scott City School District says made, and they're making them.

While solving math problems, and forming sentence structure, students in Scott City schools are also learning how to be a leader.

"We really saw a need for leadership skills in our school," said Scott City Middle School Principal Michael Umfleet.

"We wanted to do something to get the students back to where they had more of a pride in themselves, their community, their school, back to where we felt it really needed to be," said Teacher Sarah Pruden.

Umfleet says teachers implement the 7 Habits of Highly Effective people into classroom learning.

"Our ultimate goal is to create an environment where we have a school full of leaders," said Umfleet.

The habits are:

1. Be Proactive- Take responsibility for your actions/reactions, and know they contribute to your success in life.

2. Begin with the end in mind- Determine your life goals and character values. Envision ideal characteristics for your roles and relationships in life.

3. Put first things first- Complete your tasks based on importance. Prioritize things that need to get done.

4. Think win-win- Find mutually beneficial solutions to problems.

5. Seek first to understand, then to be understood- Keep an open mind and listen to someone, before relaying your point. It can create respect and positive problem solving.

6. Synergize- Use each person's strengths to create positive teamwork.

7. Sharpen the Saw-Create long term healthy life-style by renewing and balancing your resources.

"With first things first, if I have a whole bunch of paperwork or something to do, then I need to do that rather than go hang out with friends," said 7th grade student Taylor Lindeman.

"Rather than going out and playing games, and other things that aren't as important, putting those aside," said 7th grade student Brittan Jones.

"I'm in basketball, like if we didn't win or something, I'd always be mad and blame it on other people, but now I don't I use positive attitude towards them," said Lindeman.

"If they're not getting good grades or something because they're not studying or they're just going out, and playing outside and stuff which is good but it's not very important they've changed over to now they're studying, and now they're making good grades," said Jones.

Teachers, staff, and faculty say they've seen the positive changes.

"The atmosphere has just changed, when you walk down the halls, the kids are pleasant," said Umfleet.

"I think we've had less fights this year, I think we've had less controversies in the hallway this year," said teacher Leanne Grant. "I think it's cause students have got that mindset now."

Teachers like Grant and Pruden say they habits give students the tools to be successful in life.

"I think often as parents and teachers we say be more responsible, we say get your priorities straight, and with the seven habits, we are giving them the tools to do so," said Grant.

"Seeing our staff do it, doing it school wide, day in day out, the ultimate result is that they will make better decisions," said Pruden.

"Later in life if we're putting first things first, I think we'll be very successful," said Jones.

"You see them a little more serious in the classroom they think about the choices that they make, a lot of kids think well I'll wait till I get to high school, then I'll start working hard then," said Umfleet.

"I think students are thinking more about their future," said Grant.

And mother Carie Boswell says she appreciates the reinforcement.

"When he comes to school and he's hearing those things from a teacher on top of what I've tried to teach him at home, that right there is a win-win," said Boswell. "I'm trying to get that to stick in his head, get your work done first, then you can go and do the fun thing."

A win for the school atmosphere, and for the student success.

"When they graduate from here, and they may not remember how to diagram a sentence or work a path problem, they will remember what it means to be proactive and to be successful," said Grant.

"Habits start now, start changing your habits now," said Umfleet.

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