A Leader in Me School

The 7 Habits

1. Be Proactive
2. Begin With the End in Mind
3. Put First Things First
4. Think Win-Win
5. Seek First to Understand then to be Understood
6. Synergize
7. Sharpen the Saw

St. Susanna School has begun the first year implementation of a school leadership program built on Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.  The 7 Habits is a combination of personal and interpersonal principles, such as responsibility, vision, integrity, teamwork, collaboration and renewal, which when combined with the Fruit of the Holy Spirit, create an environment unique to St. Susanna School.  The 7 Habits are taught to students in an age-appropriate format within The Leader in Me process along with Catholic values.

Many of our teachers have visited a Leader in Me school, been a part of a leadership day, and completed a book study.  Our staff has also attended three professional training days presented by Franklin Covey during the Summer of 2017.  Additional training will continue over the next two years.  Staff members will continue learning how to make leadership development a part of the everyday student experience, including teaching leadership principles in meaningful ways, creating a culture of share leadership within the school, and helping students take more ownership of their academic learning and goal achievement.

The Leader in Me program is a whole-school transformation model developed in partnership with educators that empowers students.  St. Susanna is one of only 18 schools in the state of Indiana and one of 3,088 worldwide to implement this program.  It teaches 21st century leadership and life skills and creates a culture of student empowerment based on the idea that every child can be a leader.  Developing a culture of leadership in our school is about helping students be the leaders of their own lives. The Leader in Me helps them identify their own unique talents and abilities and encourages them to make a positive difference in the world.  And it is integrated seamlessly with their Catholic faith.

In August 2017, we welcomed the first group of students to benefit from The Leader in Me. When students came back to school this fall, the first thing they noticed is some of the changes that teachers and staff have made to the building this summer. Our school has added “Leader in Me” quotes and artwork.  Also for the first time, students will become fully immersed in “The Leader in Me” curriculum.  Students will be given the opportunities to show their leadership skills to you, our St. Susanna family, and our community throughout the school year.  We are very excited!

The Leader in Me model provides our school with the vision and language to lead the school in a way that addresses all areas of social and academic development.  As each child discovers and develops his/her unique God-given gifts and talents, they are given opportunities to lead.  As leaders, they become active, engaged partners in their own education and their self-confidence, responsibility, and initiative grows.  The children quickly understand the benefits of each other’s God-gifts and talents; they learn to listen to new ideas, work together to achieve results, and motivate one another to be their best.

A leadership culture actively engages students in their own learning; even the youngest students set goals and track progress. All students become active participants in the direction of the school and many of the decisions that are made. The 7 Habits are the foundation of that leadership culture.  Our goal is to find the leader in every child!


Developing Leaders One Child at a Time

AB Combs Elementary, Raleigh, NC

1999-The first Leader in Me school

The Biggest Educational Challenge

Stephen R. Covey-

Founder of The Leader in Me

The Leader in Me Symposium Highlights


FranklinCovey’s The Leader In Me Video Preview: Thoughts on The 7 Habits

Kids teach the 7 Habits

Creating Greatness

Parent’s Guide to The Leader in Me Program

Student Schoolyard & Play Along

The Leader in Me Facebook Page

Children’s Book List which model the 7-Habits Lessons

St. Susanna has made the decision to implement The Leader in Me; however, parents play an important role in supporting their children in the process.   Below are ideas for How to Enact the 7 Habits at Home:

3132013_33251_0Joy–“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing…”  Romans 15:13

Be Proactive:  I am a responsible person. I take initiative. I choose my actions, attitudes, and moods. I do not blame others for my wrong actions. I do the right thing without being asked, even when no one is looking. 1) If you have a child that is constantly complaining of being bored, have them brainstorm ways that they could do something nice for someone else, either a neighbor, friend, or family member. 2) Circle of Control: Take some sidewalk chalk and go outside and draw two circles within each other big enough to stand in. The middle one is the circle of control. Give your kids examples of different things they can control (homework) and other things they can’t (weather). Have them move in and out of the circle depending on the scenario. 3) Roleplay: Proactive vs. Reactive. Demonstrate for your kids how to deal with a situation proactively vs. reactively.

3132013_33348_1Goodness–“For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge…”  2 Peter 1:5

Begin with the End in Mind:  I plan ahead and set goals. I do things that have meaning and make a difference. I am an important part of my classroom and contribute to my school’s mission and vision, and look for ways to be a good citizen. 1) Have a family discussion about goals and what each child wants to be when they grow up. Discuss things you could do right now to be working towards those goals. Make an action plan and get started! 2) Make a family mission statement. 3) Create a family budget. Have kids determine how to spend and save their allowance.

3132013_33421_2Self-Control–“For God did not give us a spirit of cowardice but rather of power and love and self-control.”  2 Timothy 1:7

Put First Things First:  I spend my time on things that are most important. This means I say no to things I know I should not do. I set priorities, make a schedule, and follow my plan. I am disciplined and organized. 1) Make a family calendar or schedule for the week 2) Chore chart for the kids. Work before play!

3132013_33613_3Peace–“…striving to preserve the unity of the spirit through the bond of peace.”  Ephesians 4:3

Think Win-Win:  I balance courage for getting what I want with consideration for what others want. I make deposits in others’ Emotional Bank Accounts. When conflicts arise, I look for third alternatives. 1) Gather old toys that your child may no longer want. Have them donate these to a local charity. Discuss how this is a win-win for them and another child. 2) Community Service: Have your family participate in a community service event (Habitat for Humanity, soup kitchen service, clothes closet, etc.). Discuss afterwards how it was a win-win for the family and for others.

3132013_33704_4Patience–“The ill-tempered stir up strife, but the patient settle disputes.”  Proverbs 15:18

Seek First to Understand, Then to Be Understood:  I listen to other people’s ideas and feelings. I try to see things from their viewpoints. I listen to others without interrupting. I am confident in voicing my ideas. I look people in the eyes when talking.1) Practice reflective listening. Say something to your kids and then have them repeat back what you said. Do this until you feel like everyone in the family listens without thinking of a response simultaneously.2) Conflict Resolution: The next time there is a problem within the family have the involved parties sit down and listen to the other person’s point of view. They have to be able to restate the other person’s feelings before they can state theirs or respond to what was said. (“So what I heard you say was…”)3) Take family time to learn about other cultures.

3132013_33759_5Love–“…you shall love your neighbor as yourself.”  Matthew 19:19

Synergize:  I value other people’s strengths and learn from them. I get along well with others, even people who are different than me. I work well in groups. I seek out other people’s ideas to solve problems because I know that by teaming with others we can create better solutions than any one of us alone. I am humble.1) Cook a meal together. Assign everyone a job to do.2)Decide on a TV watching schedule, so that everyone wins. Pick a show to watch together.3) Involve everyone with the planning of the next family vacation.

3132013_33838_6Faithfulness–“Since you were faithful in small matters, I will give you great responsibilities…”  Matthew 25:21

Sharpen the Saw:  I take care of my body by eating right, exercising, and getting sleep. I spend time with family and friends. I learn in lots of ways and lots of places, not just at school. I take time to find meaningful ways to help others. 1) Have a family game night. 2) Exercise together. Keep a health journal-Everyone sets a goal for the week. 3) Read together! Make your own family book club or set aside a time every day when everyone in the family reads.

“Leadership is communicating people’s worth and potential so clearly

that they are inspired to see it in themselves.”

—Stephen R. Covey


Visit the Sean Covey Website to learn more about the 7-Habits Books